A bunch of rebel Shiv Sainiks (that’s what the MLAs are calling themselves) have reached Guwahati, a BJP ruled state’s bastion, and quite surprisingly, their numbers it is claimed, is growing by the minute. Not too many flights to that city from Mumbai, one may recollect. Meanwhile, one brave Sainik, Kailash Patel, is said to have gotten down from the car he was being ‘kidnapped’ in the dark and had walked and hitched hiked back to the Shiv Sena head office.
The breakaways are real, but how far these stories are one cannot confirm. Meanwhile, dissident Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde led his men to Guwahati today (June 22) and to a luxury hotel on the outskirts of the city amid tight security and in three Assam State Transport Corporation buses.
The MLAs were received at the airport by BJP MPs Pallab Lochan Das and Sushanta Borgohain Shinde. Shinde claims the support of 40 MLAs – 33 Shiv Sena and seven independents – while the picture shared by the Shinde camp has only 35 MLAs. Where did the other five come from?
Looking back, the political crisis in the state began a day after the MLC elections, when some MVA MLAs cross-voted in the favour of BJP.
The Shiv Sena, which heads the MVA government, has 55 MLAs, followed by allies NCP (53) and the Congress (44) in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly where the current simple majority mark is 144.
The Shiv Sena had walked out of a pre-poll alliance with the BJP after the 2019 assembly elections to form the government with Sharad Pawar’s NCP and the Congress following differences with the BJP on the chief minister’s post. There was unease in a section of the Shiv Sena over the growing stature of Aditya Thackeray, Uddhav’s son and minister, in party affairs.