Eknath Shinde, the leader of rebellion in ruling Shiv Sena on Wednesday claimed he has 40 MLAs with him.
Speaking to reporters outside Guwahati airport, Shinde said, “Here 40 MLAs are with me. Additional 10 MLAs will join me soon. I do not want to criticise any one. We are keen on continuing the Sena founded by late Balasaheb Thackeray,” he said.
Amid soaring speulations on the political turbulence in Maharashtra, nearly 30 rebel MLAs of Shiv Sena along with their leader Eknath Shinde were flown to Guwahati in Assam on Wednesday, sources said.
On late Monday night, Shinde had left Mumbai with several Sena MLAs and stayed at a hotel in Gujarat's Surat city. However, after holding talks with BJP leaders, he decided to shift to Guwahati.
Previously, in a cryptic tweet, Shinde said he remains a "Balasaheb's staunch Shiv Sainik". Balasaheb is a reference to Sena founder Bal Thackeray, Uddhav's father.
"We are Balasaheb's staunch Shiv Sainiks. Balasaheb has taught us Hindutva. We have never and will never cheat for power regarding Balasaheb's thoughts and Dharmaveer Anand Dighe Saheb's teachings," said Shinde in a tweet in Marathi.
आम्ही बाळासाहेबांचे कट्टर शिवसैनिक आहोत... बाळासाहेबांनी आम्हाला हिंदुत्वाची शिकवण दिली आहे.. बाळासाहेबांचे विचार आणि धर्मवीर आनंद दिघे साहेबांची शिकवण यांच्याबाबत आम्ही सत्तेसाठी कधीही प्रतारणा केली नाही आणि करणार नाही— Eknath Shinde - एकनाथ शिंदे (@mieknathshinde) June 21, 2022
Shiv sena has 56 MLAs in Maharashtra legislative assembly which has joined hands with NCP and Congress post 2019 assembly polls and formed government, breaking its alliance with the BJP.
The reason behind the move is yet to be disclosed. ABJP leader confirmed that they were going to be airlifted to Guwahati to avoid any confrontation by Sena party workers.
A senior BJP leader from Maharashtra on Monday late night told reporters, “We are shifting the MLAs to Guwahati for security reason. Surat being very close to Mumbai, may witness some backlash from angry Sena workers.”
Maharashtra rebel minister Eknath Shinde along with nearly 30 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs were staying at a hotel on Dumas road in Surat city of Gujarat upon their arrival here on Monday night.
These MLAs sat in a luxury bus during early hours of Wednesday as they were being taken to the airport, from where they will be shifted to another BJP-ruled state Assam by air, sources said.
On Tuesday, Shiv Sena leaders Milind Narvekar and Ravindra Phatak, sent by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, held discussions with the rebels at the hotel.
However, talks it seems were not successful.The Sena MLAs who have been camping in Surat based starred hotel are led by Maharashtra Urban Development minister Eknath Shinde.
Sources close to Shinde claimed that there are 30 odd MLAs with him.Maharashtra minister and some MLAs reached the hotel in Surat on late Monday night, hours after Legislative Council polls which saw the BJP winning a fifth seat despite not having enough numbers in the Assembly, possibly due to suspected cross-voting from the ruling bloc besides support from Independent MLAs and those from smaller parties.
After the Council poll results, Shinde went incommunicado and later it came to light he is camping in the hotel along with some party MLAs.
(With PTI Inputs)