Shiv Sena’s senior most MP Gajanan Kirtikar’s tirade against Uddhav Thackeray while joining the faction led by chief minister Eknath Shinde has not surprised many since he had been publicly hinting at his displeasure against the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) formation. An ardent Shiv Sainik and architect of the establishment of Sena unions in foreign banks, airlines and star hotels, Kirtikar has remained away from any political controversy for decades. This is the first time he has openly come out against the Sena leadership. When Shinde felicitated him at a function in Mumbai, Kirtikar explained why he was moving away from Uddhav. He said, “We were hoping that Uddhav will say goodbye to Congress and NCP. However, no such possibility is on the horizon. But Shinde has been proceeding on the path prescribed by Balasaheb Thackeray. Hence I have decided to support him.” The Sena has 18 Lok Sabha members. With Kirtikar’s decision, the Uddhav faction is left with just six. Though Kirtikar has switched sides, his son Amol has declared that he will continue to be with Uddhav. He said he respected the decision taken by Kirtikar but would not follow him. Kirtikar was among the select few, designated as ‘leaders’ during Balasaheb’s times. He was elected to the state assembly for four consecutive terms and this is his second LS term.