Ahmedabad Mirror | 1 week ago | 22-06-2022 | 06:00 am
Surat, the home town of Gujarat BJP president C R Paatil, has become the epicentre of political crisis in Maharashtra as 30 Shiv Sena MLAs under the leadership of Shiv Sena strongman and cabinet minister Eknath Shinde arrived here late on Monday night. Shinde has plunged the ruling alliance in the neighbouring state into a political crisis by rebelling against his party, putting a question mark on the stability of the two-and-a-half-year old MVA dispensation.Paatil cancelled all his programmes in Gandhinagar on Tuesday and reached Surat. After BJP managed to get cross voting done by a few Shiv Sena MLAs in Rajya Sabha polls, it is now trying to destabilise the Shiv Sena-Congress alliance government, Sena leaders have alleged.The political “operation” is said to have been led by former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and C R Paatil and the MLAs have been put up in Le-Meridian hotel amidst tight police security.The dramatic turn of events came hours after results of polls to the state Legislative Council on Monday night, which saw Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) losing one of the 6 seats it contested, to the opposition BJP which got all its five nominees elected to the Upper House, possibly on the back of cross-voting in its favour from the ruling bloc besides support from Independents and MLAs from smaller parties. Sena MP Sanjay Raut said 14 to 15 party MLAs are with Shinde in Surat in BJP-ruled Gujarat. He alleged that two of them, including Nitin Deshmukh, were assaulted following which Deshmukh suffered a heart attack.Shinde had a tiff with police officials and launched a dharna outside the hotel while it was raining.The Uddhav Thackeray-led party swiftly moved against Shinde (58), an MLA from Thane district, and removed him as the party’s leader in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.Shinde, who holds urban development and PWD portfolios, has been removed as the Shiv Sena group leader in the Assembly and replaced with Ajay Choudhury, Raut told reporters.Justifying the decision against his party colleague, Raut said a disciplinary action was necessary.With no sign of any let-up in the crisis, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat are expected to meet on Tuesday night to discuss the situation.Getting into action mode, the MVA lead constituent deputed its members Milind Narvekar and Ravindra Phatak to hold talks with rebel leader Shinde in Surat, around 280 km from Mumbai, and try to mollify him.As Shinde is yet to spell out his stand, Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil ruled out any link of his party to the ongoing political turmoil, but added the opposition outfit would “definitely consider” a proposal if it comes from the rebel leader to form an alternative government. Without naming Uddhav Thackeray, who heads the Shiv Sena, Shinde took to Twitter, his only comment so far since the crisis broke on Tuesday morning, and said he will never “cheat for power” and abandon the teachings of party founder late Bal Thackeray.“We are staunch Shiv Sainiks of Balasaheb who gave us lessons on Hindutva. We will never cheat for power,” Shinde tweeted in Marathi. In the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, Shiv Sena has 55 MLAS, NCP (53), Congress (44), Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (three), Samajwadi Party, AIMIM and Prahar Janshakti Party two each. MNS, CPI-M, PWP, Swabhimani Paksha, Rashtriya Samaj Party, Jansurajya Shakti Party and Krantikari Shetkari Paksha have one MLA each. There are 13 independent MLAs.BJP to fly in 106 MLAs from MaharashtraThe Bharatiya Janata Party is all set to fly its 106 Maharashtra MLAs to Gujarat on a chartered flight, as it fears poaching by the Shiv Sena. Party sources say that Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J P Nadda will be flying to Ahmedabad. Sources also said that former Maharashtra Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis will have a meeting with Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde after landing in Surat. After that both will fly to Ahmedabad, where they will discuss future plans with senior leaders.