Shiv Sena MLC Ravindra Phatak, who was sent to Surat on June 21 by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray to bring back Eknath Shinde and other rebel MLAs, has joined the rebel camp now. According to reports, Phatak has left for Guwahati and is joining the Eknath Shinde camp today (June 23). Ravindra Phatak is also accompanied by two other MLAs. One of them is Shiv Sena MLA Sanjay Rathod who is elected from the Digras constituency in the Yavatmal district of Maharashtra. The other MLA is Dadaji Bhuse who represents Malegaon outer constituency.
Ravindra Phatak and the two MLAs took a flight to Guwahati from the Surat airport and will arrive at Radisson Blu hotel where Eknath Shinde is currently staying with other rebel MLAs. After Sanjay Rathod joined the rebel camp, his wife Shital Rathod’s health deteriorated as her blood pressure increased, and she has been admitted at a hospital in Mumbai.
With Sanjay Rathod and Dadaji Bhuse joining the Eknath Shinde camp, there are now 37 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs. This means, Eknath Shinde can now officially announce that he and the other MLAs are defecting from Shiv Sena and they will not lose their MLA status under the anti-defection law. As Shiv Sena has 55 MLAs in the house, the rebel camp needs two-thirds or 37 MLAs to avoid action under the law.
Epic. Uddhav Thackeray had tasked Shiv Sena MLA Ravindra Pathak with persuading Eknath Shinde. Pathak coolly switched sides and is on the way to Guwahati with two more MLAs 🙂 pic.twitter.com/iTFbYjnpEG— Abhijit Majumder (@abhijitmajumder) June 23, 2022
Interestingly, most of the mainstream media reports have used the wrong spelling and designation of MLC Ravindra Phatak. His name is being spelled as Ravindra Phatak and he is being called an MLA whereas he actually is an MLC of Shiv Sena. Ravindra Phatak belongs to Thane which is the hometown and stronghold of Eknath Shinde who is leading the group of rebel MLAs.
On 23rd June 2022, Eknath Shinde showcased his power when video and photographs of 42 MLAs in the Radisson Blu hotel of Guwahati was shared on social media. It included 35 Shiv Sena MLAs and 7 independent MLAs who are supporting Shinde. Now the number of MLAs in Guwahati will reach 44.
Meanwhile, Nationalist Congress Party held a meeting of all its elected MLAs at the YB Chavan center. It is also being said, in Maharashtra, that a group of NCP MLAs is willing to join hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party to form a government in Maharashtra if in case Uddhav Thackeray resigns. However, NCP state president Jayant Patil has said that Sharad Pawar’s decision will prevail.