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Shiv Sena MLAs gather outside Sena Bhavan in show of strength; BJP on ‘wait and watch’ mode

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Mumbai, Jun 21: Hundreds of Shiv Sena workers gathered outside the Shiv Sena headquarters in Mumbai on Tuesday to express solidarity with party president Uddhav Thackeray battling the rebellion by Sena minister Eknath Shinde who has gone incommunicado with some MLAs of the party and camping in Surat.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led government in Maharashtra appears to be in crisis after Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde and some MLAs of his party have gone incommunicado and camping in Surat, a day after suspected cross-voting in MLC polls, putting a question mark on the stability of the MVA dispensation.

Shiv Sena MLAs gather outside Sena Bhavan in show of strength; BJP on ‘wait and watch’ mode

As the number of Sena supporters swell, police deployed additional personnel at the Shiv Sena Bhavan in the Dadar area.

Hundreds of party workers started assembling at Shiv Sena Bhavan as news of Shinde's rebellion broke in the morning, most of them irate over the challenge thrown at Chief Minister and party president Thackeray.

"This protest will continue against whoever betrays the Shiv Sena. Our leader Uddhav Thackeray will overcome all these problems and emerge victorious," one woman at the site said.

"When (party founder) Balasaheb (Thackeray) was alive, he used to say look after Uddhav the way you all have supported me. This is what we are doing. We are all here to support Uddhav Thackeray," another party worker said.

As emotions among the workers of the cadre-based party ran high, a heavy posse of police, including women personnel, was at hand to ensure the situation did not go out of hand, officials said.

In Nashik city in north Maharashtra, Sena office-bearers and activists, including women, gathered at the party office in the Shalimar Chowk area in support of Thackeray and raised slogans. Security has been beefed up at the Shiv Sena office.

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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