(Bloomberg) -- India western state of Maharashtra, home to the country’s financial capital, is staring at a political crisis with lawmakers from Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena threatening to exit his ruling coalition and demanding the renewal of an alliance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.
Several legislators from the Shiv Sena party, led by senior leader Eknath Shinde, have revolted against the party leadership. It is still not clear if the rebel faction will join opposition party BJP to bring down the Thackeray-led state government and form a new one.
On Wednesday, Chief Minister and president of the party Uddhav Thackeray appealed to the rebel legislators to talk to him directly as he sought to survive the challenge. He even offered to step down in order to keep the rebels within the party’s fold.
“Even if one legislator from my party says they don’t want me as their leader, I will quit,” Thackeray said in a speech Wednesday. “If any of my party members think I am not fit for the post of party leadership, I am willing to let even that go.”
The emerging split in his party is the biggest threat to the continuance of his government since it was formed in November 2019 with the support of opposition parties after the Shiv Sena snapped ties with BJP. The Sena and the BJP share a Hindu-nationalist ideology and were allies for about three decades.
The BJP-Shiv Sena combine won the majority in the 288-member assembly after state polls in October 2019, but the alliance was dissolved after differences over government formation. The Shiv Sena was able to form a coalition government with the regional Nationalist Congress Party, India’s main opposition Congress party, and several other smaller groups.
Maharashtra is India’s richest state. Its state capital of Mumbai, a city of 20 million people, is home to companies such as Reliance Industries Ltd. and Tata Group, India’s two main stock markets, and the country’s film industry. It’s also home to some of India’s biggest slums.
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