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Congress upset with Sanjay Raut's 'ready to quit MVA' remarks

Party calls meeting of leaders, says it stands with Sena

Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole | PTI Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole | PTI

The Maharashtra Congress called an emergency meeting of its leaders on Thursday afternoon after Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said his party was ready to walk out of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government if the rebel leaders returned to the state. Reports said the Congress is unhappy with Raut's remarks that the Sena is ready to consider the rebel leaders' demands if they return to Mumbai in the next 24 hours.

Senior Congress leaders including H.K. Patil, Balasaheb Thorat, Nana Patole and Ashok Chavan have attended the meeting held at Sahyadri guest house at 4 pm.

Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole told ANI that the party stood by the Sena to stop the BJP from coming to power in the state.

"We're with them (Shiv Sena) to stop BJP from coming to power. This game is happening due to ED...Congress is ready for the floor test. We're with MVA and will remain. If they(Shiv Sena) want to form an alliance with anyone, we don't have a problem," he told the news agency.

Raut, the chief spokesperson of the Sena, sought to reach out to the rebel leaders and said the party's "doors are open" to them, and all issues raised by them can be resolved through talks.

"You say you are real Shiv Sainiks and will not quit the party. We are ready to consider your demand provided you come back to Mumbai within 24 hours and discuss the issue with CM Uddhav Thackeray. Your demand will be considered positively. Don't write letters on Twitter and WhatsApp," Raut said.

"The rebels who are out of Mumbai have raised the issue of Hindutva. If all these MLAs feel that Shiv Sena should walk out of the MVA, show guts to come back to Mumbai. You say you have issues only with the government and also say that you are true Shiv Sainiks...Your demand will be considered. But come and talk with Uddhav Thackeray," he added. 

The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government is on the brink of collapse after senior Shiv Sena leader and cabinet minister Eknath Shinde raised a banner of revolt and left Mumbai with a sizable number of MLAs on Monday night soon after the results of the Maharashtra Legislative Council polls were announced.

Shinde first travelled to Surat and is currently camping with 37 rebel MLAs of the Sena and nine independents in a Guwahati hotel.

In the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, Shiv Sena has 55 MLAS, NCP (53), Congress (44), Bahujan Vikas Agahdi (three), Samajwadi Party, AIMIM and Prahar Janshakti Party two each. MNS, CPI-M, PWP, Swabhimani Paksha, Rashtriya Samaj Party, Jansurajya Shakti Party and Krantikari Shetkari Paksha have one MLA each. There are 13 independent MLAs. The opposition BJP has 106 MLAs.  

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