Mumbai, Jun 23 (IANS): Making another effort to defuse the ongoing political crisis in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena MP and chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut made a conditional offer to the rebels about the party's readiness to "walk out" of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA).
"We are ready to walk out of the MVA, provided the rebels return to Mumbai within 24 hours and hold discussions with the Shiv Sena," Raut said, throwing yet another challenge to the group of revolters led by Minister Eknath Shinde.
He called upon the rebels' group to stop communicating on social media or phone messages or letters or statements sitting in Assam, and like "true Shiv Sainiks, show the guts to come to Mumbai".
"Come here within 24 hours. Sit before Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Saheb and present your viewpoint to him. We shall definitely consider them," Raut declared.
Nationalist Congress Party state President and Minister Jayant Patil said Raut must have made the statement after consulting the party leaders, but his colleague Chhagan Bhujbal said the Sena MP should have discussed it with MVA leaders before going public.
Congress President Nana Patole said the party is with the MVA and will support the CM till the very end in all his efforts to save the government.
"However, if a situation arises, we are prepared to sit in the Opposition benches, since we have got the mandate for the Opposition in the 2019 Assembly elections," he added.
Senior NCP leader Praful Patel and veteran Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said that the MVA government is "stable" and there's no threat to the alliance.
"The BJP is playing all these games, trying to break the MVA. It would not have been possible for so many (Sena) MLAs to vanish to Gujarat and then to Assam without the support of BJP," said Kharge.
Raut's open dare to the rebel group came a day after Thackeray announced that he was "ready to quit as CM and also as Sena President" if the mutineers came to Mumbai and told him to do so, and Shinde reacted by demanding that the Sena should "quit the MVA" immediately.
The rebels' group has claimed the support of "over 40" Sena MLAs, while the Sena is left with around 18 legislators, but has disputed the Shinde group's contentions, saying everything will be clear only when all the deserters come to Mumbai.
An independent legislator on Thursday claimed that once the rebels return to Mumbai, they will all go to 'Matoshri' (Thackeray residence) and fall at the feet of CM Uddhav Thackeray.