Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday said the Supreme Court's ruling on the petitions filed by his and Eknath Shinde's factions will determine democracy's future in India.
Thackeray was speaking to Sena workers at his residence `Matoshree' here after inducting environmental activist Sushma Andhare and Prashant Surve in the party.
Surve is the former husband of rebel Sena MP Bhawana Gawli.
"Shiv Sena is fighting a legal and constitutional battle. The Supreme Court's verdict will decide not only the party's future but also the future of democracy in the country," Thackeray said.
Shiv Sena's Hindutva agenda was "nationalist," he said.
"There are ups and downs in politics. I am glad that people of different ideologies are getting attached to Shiv Sena. The need of the hour is to protect the Constitution," the former Maharashtra chief minister added.
Hitting out at the rebel MLAs and MPs who support chief minister Shinde, Thackeray said the Sena helped "ordinary people become extraordinary," but these legislators left the party.
"Now it is time to look for more ordinary people and help them realise their potential," he said.
"We are rebuilding our real Shiv Sena. I want to focus on leadership capabilities of rural women," Thackeray further said.
Sushma Andhare will be a deputy leader of the party, he announced.
Prashant Surve, who worked in the airlines sector, will handle party activities in Washim district, said Sena MP Vinayak Raut.
Asked about Gawli, the Washim MP who is now with the Eknath Shinde camp, Surve said their relationship ended a decade ago.
Following Shinde's rebellion and downfall of the Thackeray-led Maharashtra government, at least six petitions have been filed before the Supreme Court.
They deal with issues like disqualification proceedings against the MLAs of both camps and the governor’s directive to Thackeray to prove majority and subsequent invite to Shinde to form the new government.
(With PTI inputs)