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Assam Minister Ashok Singhal meets rebel Maharashtra MLAs in Guwahati
Guwahati: Assam Minister Ashok Singhal on Saturday night arrived at Radisson Blu Hotel in Assam's Guwahati to meet rebel Maharashtra MLAs, including Shiv Sena's Eknath Shinde.
The political crisis in Maharashtra seems to be slowly tilting in favour of rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde with four more party MLAs reaching Guwahati on Thursday and joining the others who have been camping at a five-star hotel in the city since Wednesday.
Notably, Eknath Shinde claims to have the support of 38 MLAs of the 55 Shiv Sena legislators, which is more than two-thirds of the party's strength in the 288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. It means that they can either leave and form another political party or merge with another without being disqualified from the state assembly.
However, Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant claimed that some of the rebel MLAs went to Assam with Eknath Shinde due to pressure and fear and many want to come back.
"Some of them (rebel MLAs) went due to pressure & fear, that's why they were taken so far to Assam. Many MLAs are calling us that they want to come back. It's Maharashtra's misfortune that when there's unemployment and inflation, some people are only concerned about getting into power. Without Shiv Sena's chief, they (rebel MLAs) can't even exist, nobody will ask them," Sawant told ANI.
Earlier on Saturday, rebel MLA Chimanrao Patil on Saturday expressed dissatisfaction over Shiv Sena's alliance with its "traditional rival" parties, Congress and NCP and said that they had urged Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to stitch a "natural alliance".
The leader, however, added that there was no response from the Chief Minister which is why Eknath Shinde, who is leading the faction, "took a stand".
"We are traditionally the rivals of NCP and Congress, they are our primary challengers in constituencies. We requested CM Uddhav Thackeray that natural alliance should be done," said Shiv Sena rebel MLA Chimanrao Patil in a video tweeted by Eknath Shinde.
Patil claimed that the faction has the support of two-thirds of the Shiv Sena MLAs along with 10 independents.
The Uddhav Thackeray faction recently submitted a plea before the Maharashtra Assembly deputy speaker to disqualify 12 rebel MLAs.
As rebels continue to camp in Guwahati, some of their offices were vandalised allegedly by Shiv Sena workers in Maharashtra.
Following this, Shinde on Saturday wrote to Uddhav Thackeray over the alleged 'malicious' withdrawal of security of family members of the 38 MLAs camping with him in the Guwahati hotel. (ANI)