Pic: The “Shinde Splinter” at Le Meridien, Surat
In a midnight drama Tuesday, the 22 MLAs in Surat were taken in a bus to Surat airport and flown in a chartered flight to another BJP-ruled state, Assam.
Meanwhile, visual grabs of the televised departure from Surat show the MLAs being whisked away from the bus into the Surat airport. The Gujarat Police was seen in plainclothes for the evidently higher-ranking officers, and in uniform for the security enforcing staff, cordoning off each MLA as they “ran” into the airport premises. No MLA was allowed to utter a word to the media.
The flight arrived in Guwahati early Wednesday morning, 6:30 am. At least 50 rooms have been booked in the five-star Raddison Blu hotel, on the outskirts of the Guwahati. “Cancellations of already reserved rooms were done to make the rooms available. There is a thick blanket of security at the hotel and CM Hemanta Biswas was seen leaving the hotel shortly before the rebel MPs arrived,” stated a source.
Taking a veiled dig at Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde insisted that the rebels were taking forward Balasaheb Thackeray’s ideology. Addressing the media for the first time since rebelling against the Sena leadership in the wee hours of Wednesday, Shinde made it clear that the rebel MLAs were still a part of Shiv Sena. However, he affirmed that they would not compromise on Hindutva- a hint that they can part ways with the party if it doesn’t leave the alliance with NCP and Congress.
Significantly, Shinde claims support of 46 MLAs, including Independents. He sticks to his guns about not having to partner with NCP-Congress. When asked if he would join the BJP, he said: “I am a Shiv Sainik. There is no question of joining another party.”
However, now the numbers point at a possible overthrow of the Aghadi government:
Take a look at the numbers below:
MAHARASHTRA ASSEMBLY (BEFORE CRISIS)
|BJP||Shiv Sena||NCP||Cong||SP||Others/ IND|
MAHARASHTRA ASSEMBLY (AFTER CRISIS)
|BJP||Shiv Sena||MLAs With Shinde||NCP||Cong||SP||Others/ IND|
Speaking at the Surat airport before departing for Guwahati, Maharashtra Minister Eknath Shinde remarked, “We are Balasaheb’s Shiv Sainiks. We have not left Shiv Sena and we will not leave Shiv Sena. But we are going to do the politics based on Balasaheb’s ideology.”
At present, Shinde holds the portfolios of Urban Development and PWD (Public Undertakings) in the Uddhav Thackeray-led government in Maharashtra. Sources indicated that these leaders are miffed with the Sena and are in touch with BJP.
Also Read: Eknath Shinde Removes Sena From Twitter Handle; Met C.R. Paatil Last Night