Thirty-three Shiv Sena and seven independent MLAs gathered to a luxurious hotel in Guwahati, BJP-ruled Assam, on Wednesday, led by rebel party leader and Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Eknath Shinde. The Shiv Sena revolt has fueled speculation that Shinde and other MLAs would join the BJP in an attempt to destabilise the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) administration.
The Shiv Sena MLAs are now staying at Radisson Blu Hotel in the city. “A total of 40 MLAs are present here. We will carry Balasaheb Thackeray’s Hindutva,” said Shinde after arriving in Guwahati.
The Shiv Sena MLAs were received by BJP MLA Sushanta Borgohain and BJP MP Pallab Lochan Das at Guwahati airport. “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,” BJP MLA Sushanta Borgohain said.
When questioned about the MVA dispute, Nationalist Congress president Sharad Pawar described it as “an internal affair of the Sena.” Pawar further stated that he is still totally committed to the three-party coalition administration. He also ruled out any collaboration with the opposition BJP.
On Tuesday, the Congress sent its senior leader, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, to the state as an All India Congress Committee (AICC) observer to help resolve the problem.
Shinde along with other Shiv Sena legislatures were staying in a hotel in Gujarat’s Surat following the cross-voting in Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) polls and took flight earlier today to reach Guwahati.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena were allies until 2019, when they split over the question of the chief ministerial office after contesting the Maharashtra Assembly elections jointly. Following days of political stalemate and high-voltage drama, the Shiv Sena, along with the Congress and the NCP, created the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition government, led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.