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    Uddhav Thackeray resigns as Maharashtra chief minister with a punchline

    india | IST

    Uddhav Thackeray resigns as Maharashtra chief minister with a punchline

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    In an emotionally charged address, Thackeray, who had presided over a state cabinet meeting earlier in the day, said he was resigning as chief minister and asked the rebel MLAs, "Have you lost all humanity and forgot all of our old ties?"

    Embattled Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has announced that he is stepping down as chief minister of Maharashtra during a televised address on Wednesday night.
    In an emotionally charged address, Thackeray, who had presided over a state cabinet meeting earlier in the day, said, "I appealed to our people who have left to come and sit and speak to us and tell us exactly why they are upset. Instead of going to Surat and Guwahati, they could have come to Matoshree. Despite my repeated requests, my men did not turn up for today's cabinet meet," he said.
    Thackeray's resignation has negated the need for the floor test. Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, once he receives the letter of resignation from Thackeray, will inform the secretary of the Maharashtra assembly that there's no need for the special session of the house, which was scheduled for 11 am on Thursday, as its only agenda was the floor test. Following that, the governor is expected to invite BJP to show strength and form the government.
    "Have you lost all humanity and forgot all of our old ties?" Thackeray said, addressing the rebel MLAs, and added, "This is very unfortunate and sad — people are only concerned about numbers of MLAs. All of you will unite together and prove your majority and I don't want to play that game. If you benefit from bringing down a Sena CM, then it's on you. I have no regrets in leaving this position."
    BJP, which convened a meeting of the legislative party at a hotel in Mumbai, erupted in cheers — Devendra Fadnavis will likely become the next chief minister of Maharashtra.
    Last week, Eknath Shinde led a coterie of rebel legislators to Guwahati, claiming that the Shiv Sena was in an "unnatural alliance" with the Congress and NCP, and ditched its Hindutva roots. Shinde had said he belonged to the Shiv Sena of Bal Thackeray, effectively rejecting Uddhav's the leadership.
    Around 40 rebel MLAs and 10 independents, led by Shinde, landed in Goa on Wednesday night and are expected to return to Mumbai on Thursday.
    In his speech, Thackeray said he is also resigning as a Member of Legislative Council. "All I need is your love and blessings, that's it. I'll again sit in Sena Bhavan and meet my people. We will work towards direction of a new Shiv Sena," he said.
    "I thank Shiv Sainiks for standing by me. Those who grew politically because of Shiv Sena were disgruntled, while those who did not get anything were loyal," he said. Earlier in the day, only four Shiv Sena ministers — out of a total of 14, including ministers of state — attended the state cabinet meeting.
    Just minutes before Thackeray's address, the Supreme Court refused a stay on Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's directive to Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority on the floor of the house on Thursday morning.
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