Another Setback For Uddhav Thackeray, Ex-Maharashtra Minister Deepak Sawant Joins Eknath Shinde Camp
Uddhav Thackeray faction leader and former Maharashtra health minister Deepak Sawant joined Shiv Sena in presence of CM Eknath Shinde.
MUMBAI: In yet another setback to Shiv Sena (UBT) faction head Uddhav Thackeray, his trusted aide and former Maharashtra health minister Deepak Sawant on Wednesday joined the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena. Sawant joined the Shiv Sena in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Shinde.
Uddhav Thackeray faction leader and former Maharashtra health minister Deepak Sawant joins Eknath Shinde-led group — Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) March 15, 2023
Deepak Sawant was an MLC of the then-united Shiv Sena and was a cabinet minister for public health from 2014 to 2018 in the Devendra Fadanvis-led government. He was dropped from the cabinet and denied ticket for the legislative council election by Uddhav Thackeray in 2018. Welcoming Deepak Sawant, Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde said that his party will benefit from his entry into the party fold.
I welcome Dr. Deepak Sawant to our Shiv Sena party. We will benefit from his experience: Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde pic.twitter.com/Q3FD11T8iL — ANI (@ANI) March 15, 2023
Just two days back, Bhushan Desai, the son of Uddhav Thackeray’s trusted aide and former industries minister Subhash Desai, joined the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction. Desai joined the Shinde faction in the presence of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and several other Shiv Sena leaders.
Desai joined the Shinde faction just days ahead of the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections. His switching to the Shinde camp was seen as a major development in the political circles of Maharashtra. Subhash has been a close confidant of former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray for over five decades and served as the Minister of Industries and Mines during the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra.
It was seen as a big setback for Uddhav Thackeray, days after the former Maharashtra chief minister lost the Shiv Sena name and its election symbol to the Eknath Shinde faction after the Election Commission declared the latter as the "real Shiv Sena".
On his joining the Shinde camp, Bhushan Desai told media persons that he was "impressed by the functioning style of CM Shinde" and after discussing it with his father, he decided to join the party. "I made up my mind to join the Shiv Sena which runs on the ideals of the late Hindu Hriday Samrat Balasaheb Thackeray. I shall take up whatever responsibility the party gives me," he said. Shinde and other senior leaders lauded Bhushan Desai for his move, offering him a party flag and other symbols marking his entry to the Shiv Sena.
However, reacting to the development, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray said Bhushan was not with the Uddhav faction. “Subhash Desai is our big leader. we follow his guidance; his son was not with us. Whoever wants to go to the washing machine should go," he added.
Earlier on February 17, in a major setback to the Uddhav Thackery faction of Shiv Sena, the Election Commission of India (ECI) allotted the party name "Shiv Sena" and the symbol "Bow and Arrow" to the faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. While the Shinde faction welcomed the decision of being recognized as the real Shiv Sena, Uddhav Thackeray approached the Supreme Court, which later refused to stay the EC order.
Last month, both the Maharashtra Chief Minister Shinde and former CM Uddhav Thackeray-led factions of the Shiv Sena submitted their written statements in support of their claims over the party name and symbol to the Election Commission.
The ECI had frozen the bow and arrow symbol of the Shiv Sena and had allotted the `Two Swords and Shield symbol` to the Eknath Shinde faction of Shiv Sena and the ‘flaming torch’ (Mashaal) election symbol to the Uddhav Thackeray faction for the by-poll in Andheri East assembly constituency in November last year.
Shiv Sena had seen a split last year forcing Uddhav Thackeray to resign as Chief Minister of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. Shinde later joined hands with BJP to form a government in the state.