The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra, led by Chief Minster Uddhav Thackeray, appeared to be on the brink of collapse on Thursday as the number of Shiv Sena rebels, led by party leader Eknath Shinde, continued to swell.
Sena chief Thackeray left the chief minister's official residence along with his wife Rashmi and their sons Aaditya and Tejasand on Wednesday.
They moved into their family home, shortly after Mr Thackeray made an emotional speech in which he said he was willing to resign if his party legislators and ranks told him to his face that they did not want him to continue.
In the address, which was more an appeal to his partymen after Mr Shinde moved from Surat to Guwahati with his flock of 34 Sena legislators (MLAs), Mr Thackeray said: "If my own people are saying they do not want me, then shouldn't they have come before me to say it instead of going to Surat and speaking there?
"They should have come here and say: 'Uddhavji, you are useless… we don't want you.' I would have resigned from the post of CM even if only one MLA had said this to me.
"I have no greed. I am not going to stick to the chair."
In the assembly of 288, which is currently at 287 owing to the death of Sena MLA Ramesh Latke last month, the MVA needs at least 144 legislators to survive.
Before the revolt, its strength in the house was 152 - Sena 55, Nationalist Congress Party 53, Congress 44.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 106 MLAs, while others account for the remaining 29.
More Sena MLAs were expected to join Shinde by Thursday.
The BJP is expected to stake a claim to form the government under its leader Devendra Fadnavis with the Sena rebels' backing.
Indo-Asian News Service
"If my own people are saying they do not
want me, then shouldn't they have come before me to say it instead of going to Surat and speaking there?"
- Chief Minster Uddhav Thackeray