Shinde who handled the key departments of urban development and public undertakings, had seen trouble brewing for the coalition over the last few months. The debacle in the RS and MLC polls this month confirmed his fe-ars. “It was clear that in the RS polls, other parties and independents also tacitly supported BJP. So it was a matter of who would take the plunge first. After the MLC polls, it became clear that the government was in minority, so this step had to be taken,” said a Sena neta close to him.
Shinde, known as a serious, professional but quiet politician in Sena circles, is said to have told the leadership a few weeks ago that the party must consider renewing the alliance with BJP keeping in mind local body elections coming up and the 2014 LS polls.
Maharashtra political crisis: Live updates
His decision to rebel citing his unwavering belief in Hindutva indicated his conviction that Sena’s core vote bank of Hindu and Maharashtrian voters had eroded following the tie-up with Congress and NCP. Shinde is seen as a key person who can mobilise resources, which includes manpower and finance, for the party.
Apart from this, insiders said Shinde was unhappy about interference from other Sena ministers in his departments. “Secretaries and IAS officers from his departments like urban development were told not to sign any files without the consent of the CMO. Dozens of party MLAs were queuing up at Shinde’s office for funds but Shinde was kept away from the distribution of funds. He was also kept out of the decision-making process for the RS and MLC polls,” said a Shinde camp functionary.
“More importance was given to the CM’s son and environment minister Aaditya Thackeray and Yuva Sena. Even during the MLC polls, key roles were assigned to Yuva Sena leaders. To add to this, there was a feeling that Sena was being driven by Sanjay Raut who was setting the agenda on a daily basis,” the leader said. Another Sena leader reiterated the lack of access to the CM as one reason for the rebellion.