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Mumbai: Fearing that Shiv Sainiks could take to the streets to show solidarity with party chief and Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, the Mumbai Police has been put on high alert to avoid any untoward incident.

The split may be playing out for days in Maharashtra politics, but on Friday, the police was ordered to be on high alert and many in the government believe that if the Sainiks are not controlled from spreading violence, it will give the Centre a chance to recommend President’s Rule and then the present government will have no shot at retaining power.

Nitin Raut, power minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, believes the police have been put on high alert for a reason.

“If anything happens to the Sena, Mumbai burns. The way police have been kept on high alert in Mumbai, I believe this is being done to ensure that the central government will not impose President’s Rule using violence by Sainiks as an excuse,” said the minister. Raut also believes that no Sainik can take this kind of rebellion against Thackeray lightly and they can express their angst in any form.

“The kind of Vidroh that Sena has witnessed, no Sainik will take this rebellion normally and they can’t digest it also. This can be expressed in any form. Yesterday, we saw Eknath Shinde’s mother saying that he has done wrong and many family members of those who have rebelled are saying the same thing. The government doesn’t want to take any chance, so police have been put on alert,” explained the minister.

In the evening, every chowk and security at the houses at prominent leaders, especially BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis, was doubled and kept on alert.

For the past two days just a handful of police personnel used to sit around and take note of those entering and leaving. However, on Friday, a senior officer came and sought briefing and additional force too could be seen in the same lane.

Earlier in the day, there were scattered incidents of Sainiks vandalising the hoardings and posters at the residence or offices of the rebel leaders who have branched out to Shinde camp.
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