Shiv Sena strongman Eknath Shinde on Tuesday said that he will return to Mumbai soon. Speaking to reporters outside the Guwahati hotel where the rebel camp MLAs are staying since June 24, Shinde claimed that he enjoys the support of 50 MLAs and that "they are here on their own".

Shinde also dared Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray to disclose the names of his group MLAs who are reportedly in contact with the party and have pleaded to return. He said this while referring to Aaditya's comments wherein the latter claimed that at least 20 MLAs who have joined the rebel camp are in touch with him and have urged the party to bring them back to Mumbai from Guwahati.

"We are in Shiv Sena, we are taking Shiv Sena forward. There should not be any doubt about it," he said in his first reaction to the reporters since arriving here. "Will return to Mumbai soon," a four-time MLA said.

When asked about his plans, Shinde replied: "We will give let you know about our further course of action", adding that "our spokesperson is Deepak Kesarkar,

he will give you all the information. He is letting you know about our stand and role. We are speaking about Balasaheb Thackeray's Hindutva and we are carrying it forward."

"50 MLAs with me in Guwahati, they have come of their own accord and for Hindutva," Shinde said as he categorically rubbished reports that MLAs are being "suppressed". 

"Everyone here is happy. MLAs are with us. If Shiv Sena says that the MLAs present here are in contact with them, they should reveal the names," Shinde, who enjoys much political clout in Thane and is often credited for Sena's expansion in the state, said. Earlier on Monday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had divested nine ministers including Shinde of their portfolios.

Shinde's rebellion has pushed the MVA government in Maharashtra on the verge of collapse. The MVA is an alliance of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress which came into existence in 2019 after Uddhav's party ended its over two decades old friendship with the BJP immediately after the declaration of the Assembly election results.
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