As the Maharashtra political battle rages for the past 48 hours and counting, visuals emerged of a smiling Eknath Shinde – the man whose rebellion plunged the MVA government into a survival crisis – with his group of loyalists camping at a Guwahati 5-star hotel.
The videos and images that have surfaced show Shinde sitting along with some MLAs, who are sharing some light moments among themselves. Shinde can also be seen flipping through some sheets of paper and also signing on them. It could not be immediately known what those documents were.
The videos are the first to emerge since Monday night when Shinde flew to Surat in BJP-ruled Gujarat with 26 Sena MLAs following suit.
Shinde is camping at the Guwahati hotel with over 40 Sena MLAs, who have pledged support to him. As many as 34 MLAs on Wednesday wrote to the Maharashtra Governor backing Shinde. The leaders said Eknath Shinde would remain the legislative party leader of the Shiv Sena, a day after Uddhav Thackeray sacked him after the revolt.
Shinde, meanwhile, tweeted in Marathi that “it is essential to get out of the unnatural front for the survival of the party and Shiv Sainiks”, adding that the decisions were made in the interest of Maharashtra.
To save the MVA boat from sinking, alliance leaders NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray met in the evening and discussed the possibility of giving Shinde the CM’s post in a bid to placate him. In his address on Wednesday evening, Uddhav in a live webcast said he was ready to step down if the rebel leader and MLAs supporting him declared that they don’t want him to continue as CM.
The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance has 152 MLAs — 55 from Shiv Sena, 53 from NCP and 44 from Congress — as its core strength. The alliance also claims support from some smaller parties and independents.
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