On Wednesday (June 22) morning, rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde reached the Northeastern State of Assam, reportedly with 34 party MLAs and 6 independent MLAs.
As per reports, they were initially lodged at the Le Meridian hotel in Surat and were later ferried to the Surat International Airport to board a chartered flight to Guwahati.
Assam: Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde and other party MLAs reach Guwahati airport from Surat, Gujarat. pic.twitter.com/Z8r0bfjejy— ANI (@ANI) June 22, 2022
They were escorted to safety by the Gujarat police. On reaching Assam, the MLAs from Maharashtra were received by BJP leaders Pallab Lochan Das and Sushanta Borgohain.
Dramatic visuals at Surat airport… गुजरात पुलिस हर बागी शिवसेना विधायक को घसीटते हुए बस से .. मीडिया के कैमरों से बचाते हुए एयरपोर्ट के अंदर पहुंचा रही है…ये तस्वीरें सुबह के 2:30 बजे की हैं .. @ndtv pic.twitter.com/L8WRP9CGGa— Saurabh shukla (@Saurabh_Unmute) June 21, 2022
While addressing the media, Eknath Shinde informed, “A total of 40 MLAs are present here. We will carry Balasaheb Thackeray’s Hindutva.”
“A total of 40 MLAs are present here. We will carry Balasaheb Thackeray’s Hindutva,” said Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde after arriving in Guwahati, Assam pic.twitter.com/1v2nKoTBZR— ANI (@ANI) June 22, 2022
According to news agency ANI, the rebel MLAs are currently staying in Radisson Blu Hotel in Guwahati. “Before the arrival of Maharashtra MLAs at Guwahati airport, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma visited Radisson Blu hotel in Guwahati, today morning. The MLAs are staying at this hotel,” ANI tweeted.
Before the arrival of Maharashtra MLAs at Guwahati airport, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma visited Radisson Blu hotel in Guwahati, today morning. The MLAs are staying at this hotel.— ANI (@ANI) June 22, 2022
Given that Shiv Sena has 55 members in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Shinde needs the support of 2/3rd MLAs (or 37 MLAs) to avoid being penalised under the anti-defection law.
To avoid anti defection law, Eknath Shinde needs support of 37 MLA’s.— Brij Dwivedi (@Brij17g) June 21, 2022
Eknath Shinde proposes to return to Shiv Sena if it allies with the BJP
Amid the ongoing political turmoil in Maharashtra, Milind Narvekar and Ravindra Phatak met rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde and other MLAs camping in Surat on Tuesday (June 21) to defuse the situation.
According to the reports, Shinde proposed to Narvekar that he would return to the party if Shiv Sena formed a government with the BJP. In his meeting with Narvekar and Phatak, Shinde and other MLAs reportedly insisted that Hindutva was paramount to them and that they would not compromise on it.
Reportedly, Narvekar also facilitated a call between Eknath Shinde and Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, which went on for 15 minutes and during which the latter assured the rebel Shiv Sena leader that his issues would be resolved.