A total of 40 Shiv Sena MLAs led by Maharashtra political leader Eknath Shinde, who have rebelled against the party bringing a political crisis to the MVA government, have arrived Guwahati on today morning. They left from a hotel in Surat, Gujarat in the wee hours of Wednesday and were flown to Assam.
Assam is currently ruled by a BJP-led government.
Talking to media at the Guwahati airport, Shinde said: "A total of 40 Shiv Sena MLAs are present here. We will carry Balasaheb Thackeray's Hindutva."
#WATCH | "A total of 40 Shiv Sena MLAs are present here. We will carry Balasaheb Thackeray's Hindutva," said Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde after arriving in Guwahati, Assam pic.twitter.com/YpSrGbJvdt
— ANI (@ANI) June 22, 2022
The Shiv Sena MLAs were received by BJP MLA Sushanta Borgohain in Guwahati. "I came to receive them (Shiv Sena MLAs from Surat, Gujarat). I have not counted how many MLAs have arrived. I came here for personal relations. They have not disclosed any program," he said.
According to sources to news agency PTI, the Maharashtra MLAs are likely to stay in Guwahati's Radisson hotel.
Notably, this is for the first time that MLAs from a western Indian state is being taken to a northeastern state after their rebellion against the party leadership.
After the Maharashtra Legislative Council poll results on Monday, Shinde along with other party lawmakers went incommunicado and later it came to light that they were camping in a hotel on Dumas road in Surat city of Gujarat.
On Tuesday, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray sent Shiv Sena leaders Milind Narvekar and Ravindra Phatak to hold discussions with the rebels at the hotel. However, talks it seems were not successful.
The reason for shifting Shiv Sena MLAs to Guwahati from Mumbai in undisclosed but PTI mentioned a senior BJP leader from Maharashtra saying, "We are shifting the MLAs to Guwahati for security reason. Surat being very close to Mumbai, may witness some backlash from angry Sena workers."
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena also moved its other MLAs (supporting Uddhav Thackeray) to hotels to ward off poaching bids after Shinde rebelled against the party along with some fellow legislators.
"Party MLAs have been housed at different hotels in Mumbai. This has been done to avoid poaching of legislators," a Shiv Sena MLA from Mumbai said.
The MLA, however, did not divulge the names of the hotels where the legislators have been housed.
Uddhav Thackeray dials rebel Eknath Shinde
Uddhav Thackeray reportedly spoke with Shiv Sena rebel Eknath Shinde on Tuesday evening and the talks between the two leaders lasted for around 10 minutes.
According to NDTV, Shinde claimed that he has not taken any decision or signed any document and declared that he has taken this step for the betterment of the party.
The report mentioned sources saying that when Uddhav Thackeray asked Shinde to reconsider and return to the fold, he demanded that the Sena renew its alliance with the BJP and jointly rule Maharashtra.
Two leaders of Shiv Sena dispatched by Uddhav Thackeray met and held a detailed discussion with Shinde and other MLAs in Surat on Tuesday to defuse the internecine crisis having the potential to threaten the survival of the MVA government in Maharashtra.
Shiv Sena removes Eknath Shinde as Legislative party leader
On Tuesday, Shiv Sena removed Shinde as its Legislative party leader. He was replaced by Sewri MLA Ajay Chaudhary. The decision was taken at the meeting convened by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray today at his Varsha residence.
With inputs from agencies