Game plays

Maha power play unfolds in Assam, more rebels join Eknath Shinde | Latest India News

The Maha Vikas Aghadi Alliance (MVA) only benefited other voters while the Shiv Sena was systematically deceived, Eknath Shinde, the leader of the rebel faction claimed after reaching Guwahati on Wednesday as he rushed towards collecting the deputies needed to divide the party.

Shinde said the alliance has now weakened the party in a way that getting out of the unholy front is “essential for the survival of the party and Shiv Sainiks”, posting tweets immediately after the chief minister of Maharashtra and Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray broke his silence in the evening.

Earlier, Shinde’s camp moved to Assam, checking into a hotel in the state capital early in the morning.

“Forty Shiv Sena MPs are present with me in Guwahati and we will all carry forward Hindutva and the legacy of Balasaheb Thackeray. I don’t want to comment on others or other issues at this time,” Shinde told reporters shortly after landing.

Although the Sena leader claimed he had 40 party lawmakers with him – three more than the magic number of 37 needed to split the party without leading to disqualification under the anti-defection law – a purported document from resolution released by the camp suggested different figures. There were a total of 34 signatories, including two from the Prahar Janshakti Party (PJP) and two independent lawmakers, meaning the number of Sena MPs was 30.

Of these, one MP – Nitin Deshmukh – later returned to Mumbai, leaving the splinter faction and apparently bringing its total down to 29. But late in the evening, two more Shiv Sena MPs arrived, along with two other independent lawmakers. , bringing the strength of the Guwahati camp to 37, of whom 31 were Shiv Sena members.

Shinde therefore needed six more Shiv Sena lawmakers to hit the 37 mark, and rebel group insiders insisted those were on the way.

The resolution document showed that the signatories had reaffirmed Shinde as their leader, and the grouping decided that the party leadership’s decision to enter the MVA alliance was “ideologically opposed” to its own, and that the administration in power was now a “corrupt government”.

The letter alleged “enormous dissatisfaction” among Shiv Sena cadres for forming a government with the Nationalist Congress Party, a major regional rival that had been ideologically opposed to the Sena.

In the morning in Guwahati, Shinde and other Sena and Independent MPs were greeted by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Assam MP Pallab Lochan Das and party lawmaker Sushanta Borgohain as they landed at the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport around 7am.

The rebel MPs were earlier in a five-star hotel in Surat after leaving Maharashtra on Monday night and throwing the ruling government into an existential crisis. Both Gujarat and Assam are BJP-ruled states.

“I don’t know of any uprisings. I came to meet a couple of my Sena MLA friends at the airport. They called me to tell me that they were coming to Assam and wanted to meet me. Therefore, I came to the airport to receive my friends. They left for their hotel and I’m going home,” Borgohain told reporters after receiving the deputies.

Upon arrival, Shinde and the other lawmakers were whisked away in three air-conditioned buses to a five-star hotel in town.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma visited the hotel minutes before Maharashtra lawmakers arrived there. Sarma, however, has not met with Sena lawmakers.

A large number of security personnel were posted outside the hotel to prevent media from entering the premises. Several MPs and BJP leaders from Assam arrived at the scene to attend Shinde and his associates.

“This is a very unfortunate chapter in the politics of Assam. Our state is currently reeling from the floods and instead of focusing on that, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is busy assisting MPs in Maharashtra in Guwahati. We condemn this development,” said the opposition leader of the Congress in the Assam Assembly, Debabrata Saikia.

Sarma, who visited flood-hit areas in Nagaon district in central Assam on Wednesday, said he had no role in the arrival of Sena MPs in Guwahati .

“The state is in shock from the floods and needs more business right now. So it’s a good thing that people are coming and staying in hotels. Shouldn’t we welcome Goddess Lakshmi, if she’s coming? I’m not involved in the case (of Shinde and other MPs) and I’m busy inspecting the flood affected areas,” he added.