Maharashtra MVA crisis LIVE Updates: Eknath Shinde says 40+ MLAs with him, not splitting from Shiv Sena

Maharashtra political crisis LIVE: Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs and some Independent MLAs who were staying at Le Meridien hotel in Surat, left for Guwahati in the early hours of Wednesday. It’s now a fullblown crisis for the the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra, with Shinde – clearly hosted by the BJP – is gathering momentum to topple the government. The shifting from Gujarat to Assam, both BJP-ruled states, happened hours after two emissaries from Uddhav Thackeray reached out to Shinde at his Surat hotel.

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Did more Sena MLAs join Shinde?

If that number of 33 dissident Shiv Sena MLAs – quoted in reports – holds true, then there has been a further erosion since Uddhav Thackeray’s meeting of party MLAs at Matoshree yesterday evening. Or maybe the Uddhav camp yesterday overestimated the numbers with them. Remember, the total strength of Shiv Sena is 55.

Forty Maharashtra MLAa – 33 dissidents from Shiv Sena and seven independent MLAs – are lodged at the Guwahati luxury hotel: PTI reports

Have ’40+ MLAs’, not splitting from Shiv Sena

Eknath Shinde spoke over the phone with the NDTV, and this in short is what he said:

  • We have 40 plus MLAS with us now
  • We are not splitting from the Shiv Sena, we will carry forward Balasaheb’s political vision
  • Shiv Sena is a party founded on Hindutva, it has to be carried forward
  • Within a few days the picture will be clear ( on whether they don’t want the Cong and NCP
  • There are 46 MLAs with us, counting Shiv Sena and Independents
  • Will decide after our meeting when to stake claim

A meeting of the Maharashtra cabinet is scheduled for today at 1 pm.

Surat to Guwahati: That’s a long distance!

Resort politics is a cliche in the country. Corraling MLAs – loyal or rebel, depending on the situation – at resorts in stronghold states is now a scene which plays out every few months. But what seems so dramatic this time is the distance the rebels have been flown. From Surat in the west in Gujarat, Eknath Shinde and the MLAs who support him have been shifted far east to Guwahati in Assam. Both states are ruled by the BJP.

Why Shinde was always a source of nervousness to the Thackerays

  • Eknath Shinde was a very close aide of late Sena leader Anand Dighe. Thane, where Shinde hails from, was Dighe’s fiefdom.
  • Dighe was loyal to the Sena till his death in 2001, but he ran the party in Thane as he felt fit, and even Bal Thackeray could not rein him in.
  • The Shiv Sena, probably with this in mind, did not give a free hand in the Thane-Kalyan belt to Shinde as he would have liked.
  • Sena insiders told ET the Thackerays always felt “nervous” about Shinde’s clout in the party and there were efforts to cut him down to size.
  • There have been instances where his supporters put up huge hoardings proclaiming him as the “future CM”.
  • Shinde has been feeling restless after Uddhav’s son Aaditya Thackeray’s entry into politics. Aaditya brought in his own young group of people.

Scenes at the Guwahati airport

The flight carrying Eknath Shinde and his group of rebel Shiv Sena MLAs landed at the Guwahati airport around 6.30 am

Scenes at the Guwahati airport

The numbers in the Maharashtra assembly

The Shiv Sena, which heads the MVA, has 55 MLAs, followed by allies NCP (53) and the Congress (44) in the 288-assembly. The current simple majority mark is 144.

Maharashtra MLAs have arrived at the Radisson Blu hotel in Guwahati, ANI reports

How many Shiv Sena MLAs with Shinde?

Eknath Shinde claims there are 40 Shiv Sena MLAs with him. This number has not been confirmed independently. The exact number of rebel Shiv Sena MLAs who travelled in that chartered flight from Surat is not known immediately, but the flight had 89 passengers, including onboard crew, sources told PTI.

The flight from Surat in Gujarat landed at Guwahati’s Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi international airport at around 6.30 am

The rebel Shiv Sena MLAs were received at Guwahati airport by BJP leaders Sushanta Borgohain and Pallab Lochan Das.

In ‘wait and watch’ mode: Maharashtra BJP

The Maharashtra BJP has claimed that “technically” the state government is in a “minority” as Eknath Shinde and other Shiv Sena MLAs have gone. The party says it is in a “wait and watch” mode, claiming that there has not been any proposal regarding government formation neither from the BJP nor from Shinde. Sources, however say, the BJP has offered the deputy chief minister’s post to Shinde, who is currently the urban affairs minister.

We haven’t left Balasaheb Thackeray’s Shiv Sena, says Shinde

Before leaving for Guwahati with his group of rebel MLAs, Eknath Shinde talked to the media at the Surat airport. “We have not left Balasaheb Thackeray’s Shiv Sena and will not leave it. We have been following Balasaheb’s Hindutva and will carry it further,” he said.

A total of 40 Shiv Sena MLAs are present here. We will carry forward Balasaheb Thackeray’s Hindutva.

– Eknath Shinde, on arriving at Guwahati

The revolt came shortly after a suspected cross-voting in the Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) elections on Sunday evening in which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bagged five seats, dealing a major blow to the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance government.

Both the Congress and the NCP have said they are backing Uddhav Thackeray and standing by their alliance. The Congress also announced that, contrary to speculation, their team is intact.

The group seems to have got a few additions before they left. Woman MLA Yamini Jadhav had joined them in Surat. Bachchu Kadu’s Prahaar Janshakti Party , which was earlier opped to the BJP, has now joined Shinde.

The shifting happened hours after two aides of CM Uddhav Thackeray reached out to Shinde at their Surat hotel. Both Gujarat and Assam are ruled by the BJP

The scene now shifts to Guwahati in the Maharashtra political drama. Overnight, Eknath Shinde and the Shiv Sena MLAs supporting him moved out from their Surat hotel and flew far east.

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