Upset with NCP, Cong, not Sena leadership, say rebel Maharashtra MLAs: Report
Maharashtra crisis: The Shiv Sena has reached out to Eknath Shinde - Uddhav Thackeray sent two of his closest aides when he was camped out in Surat - but the approach was rebuffed.
Rebel Shiv Sena MLAs camped out in BJP-ruled Assam under the leadership of Eknath Shinde have 'no complaints' against their party's leadership but are upset with allies Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, Sandipan Bhumare, one of the breakaway legislators, told a TV news channel on Tuesday. 'We do not have complaints against Shiv Sena leadership. We have raised our complaints with chief minister Uddhav Thackeray... it was getting difficult to work with NCP and Congress ministers," Bhumare was quoted by PTI.
Pressed on whether he is unhappy despite a cabinet seat, he said: "What else do I need in life. But, as a people's representative, I need to address the grievances of my people. I could not do it properly because of these two alliance partners."
A political crisis has broken out in Maharashtra - where the Sena, the Congress and the NCP form the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi government. Influential Sena leader Eknath Shinde decamped Tuesday with an unconfirmed number of party MLAs - first to a luxury hotel in Gujarat's Surat and, this morning, to another luxury property in Guwahati in Assam; both are BJP-ruled states
People aware of the matter said Shinde arrived in Guwahati with 33 Sena MLAs and seven independent lawmakers. All have checked into the Radisson property in the city.
Shinde on Tuesday claimed the support of 40 lawmakers - more than enough to circumvent the anti-defection law and bring down the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government with minimal fuss.
The Sena has 55 members in the 288-member assembly. Allies NCP and Congress have 53 and 44, and one seat is vacant. The MVA is also backed by 14 other MLAs. Together, it has 166 members.
The BJP has 106 lawmakers and the backing of six other lawmakers.
The magic number is 144 - the simple majority to form the government.
The attempted breakaway began Monday night after the BJP won five of 10 legislative council seats. The opposition party has claimed cross-voting from disgruntled Sena and Congress lawmakers helped their cause.
The Sena has reached out to Shinde - Uddhav Thackeray sent two of his closest aides to Surat - but the approach was rebuffed.
Shinde indicated he is in no mood to return but claimed he would not 'betray' the legacy of Balasaheb Thackeray, the Sena's founder and ideological fount.
Sena strongman and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut has claimed at least some of the rebel MLAs are being held forcibly. "MLA Nitin Deshmukh… was kidnapped… tried to free himself… was brutally beaten up..." he tweeted.
Kailas Patel, another MLA, reportedly managed to flee and hitch-hiked/walked back to Mumbai from the Gujarat border.
Uddhav Thackeray is scheduled to meet with senior MVA leaders today followed by a cabinet meet as the Sena scrambles to save the government. Yesterday he met with deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and, reportedly, also spoke to Shinde.
With input from PTI