I have 40 MLAs with me, says Eknath Shinde after reaching Guwahati

Shinde, who arrived at the Guwahati airport, spoke to reporters for the first time since his decision to rebel against his own party

Eknath Shinde. File Pic

Amid the political crisis in Maharashtra, Eknath Shinde, the leader of rebellion in ruling Shiv Sena, on Wednesday claimed he has 40 MLAs with him.

Shinde, who arrived at the Guwahati airport, spoke to reporters for the first time since his decision to rebel against his own party.

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.

“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,” Shinde said.

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,” Borgohain said.

Shinde along with other Shiv Sena legislatures were staying in a hotel in Surat following the cross-voting in Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) polls and took flight earlier today to reach Guwahati.

A group of Maharshtra MLAs, led by dissident Shiv Sena dissident leader Eknath Shinde, reached Guwahati on Wednesday morning and were taken to a luxury hotel on the outskirts of the city amid tight security.

Speaking to media persons at the Surat airport here before leaving for Guwahati, Shinde said that they have not left Balasaheb Thackeray’s Shiv Sena.

“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.

This comes after suspected cross-voting in Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) elections in which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bagged five seats, in a major blow to the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance government. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena won two each while Congress was able to clinch one seat out of the total 10 seats in Legislative Council that went to the polls on Monday.

After the MLC elections, Shinde along with some other Shiv Sena MLAs who were staying at Le Meridien hotel in Surat. A Shiv Sena delegation comprising Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s close aides Milind Narvekar and Ravindra Phatak also met Shinde and other party legislators in Surat.

The revolt in the Shiv Sena has given rise to speculations that Shinde along with other MLAs might join the BJP in a bid to topple the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

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.

(With inputs from ANI and PTI)


Originally published at www.mid-day.com

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