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Eknath Shinde’s claims to Bal Thackeray’s legacy add to the dilemma as to who the real Shiv Sena is.Mumbai/New Delhi: Eknath Shinde, who took oath as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra yesterday after nine days of rebellion against Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray leadership, has sent out a subtle message positioning himself as the political heir to Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray.Right after the oath ceremony, Mr Shinde changed the profile picture of his Twitter handle to one with Balasaheb Thackeray, a fiery Hindutva icon and the mascot of Maratha pride.While the Shiv Sena rebels have managed to clinch power in Maharashtra with the BJP’s support, the battle for controlling the party is on.The Shinde faction has declared in the Supreme Court that they are the real Sena. His argument is that Mr Thackeray has diluted the Hindutva ideology of of Bal Thackeray by forming a coalition with Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, which he called an “unnatural alliance”.To put on record, Mr Shinde has the backing of 39 (out of 55) Shiv Sena MLAs while Mr Thackeray’s team numbered 15.Mr Thackeray resigned as the Chief Minister on Thursday after the Supreme Court refused to stay the trust vote ordered by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.Signing off amid cries of ‘betrayal’, he targeted Mr Shinde, saying that his party made auto-rickshaw drivers and handcart pullers MPs and MLAs. Notably, Mr Shinde was an auto-rickshaw driver in Thane.Mr Thackeray’s resignation paved the way for a new government in Maharashtra, but with a twist.In a surprising turn of events yesterday, the top post went to Mr Shinde, who led the revolt from a hotel in BJP-ruled Assam, while former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis became his deputy. The speculations were right opposite.



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