The Maharashtra Cabinet meeting concluded with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray joining via video conferencing after testing positive for Covid-19.
During the meeting, the Cabinet agendas were discussed but the the worsening political crisis in the state was not.
A day after suspected cross-voting in the MLC polls, Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde became ‘unreachable’ along with some MLAs. Mr. Shinde is said to have decamped with ‘rebel MLAs’ to a hotel in Surat, before heading to Guwahati.
The BJP won five seats, with Shiv Sena and NCP bagging two seats in the MLC elections.
Shinde, a supporter of the earlier Sena-BJP alliance, was said to be miffed with the Sena’s decision to join hands with the NCP and the Congress to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
Shiv Sena Calls For Legislature Party Meeting With All MLAs
Shiv Sena has now asked all its MLAs, including the rebel MLAs with Shinde, to attend a legislature party meeting at 5 PM today. MLAs could face action under the anti-defection law, if they chose not to attend, the party added.
Shiv Sena chief whip Sunil Prabhu wrote a letter addressed party MLAs via a letter.
‘The Shiv Sena has called for an urgent meeting today evening at ‘Varsha’ bungalow as there have been attempts to make the MVA government unstable. The details regarding the meeting have been shared with all the members (MLAs) on their registered e-mail address, Whatsapp and by way of SMS.
You cannot remain absent to the meeting without providing a valid and sufficient reason. If you do not attend the meeting, it would be presumed that you have a clear intention of leaving the party. Hence, there will be action taken against you based on the provisions for preventing anti-defection,’ the letter said.
’46 MLAs with us, will decide course of action after meeting,’ says Eknath Shinde
Shinde said he has 46 MLAs with him, including 6-7 Independent MLAs.
‘This number will rise in the time to come. As of now we have neither received any proposal from BJP nor are we holding any talks with them,’ Shinde told news agency ANI.
Shinde added that the group of rebel MLAs are not currently in talks with the Shiv Sena or CM Uddhav Thackeray.
No proposal to recommend dissolution of Assembly
Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole said CM Uddhav Thackeray has made it clear that there is no proposal to recommend dissolution of State Assembly.
Reiterating assurances that all difficulties will be addressed and the government will continue, Congress’ Balasaheb Thorat also confirmed that no discussion was held.
Sena MLA Nitin Deshmukh returns within hours of arriving in Guwahati
In an interesting turn of events, Shiv Sena MLA Nitin Deshmukh, who arrived in Guwahati along with fellow party MLAs from Surat, returned to Maharashtra with five other colleagues within hours, sources said.
Deshmukh did not accompany Shinde and other MLAs to a city hotel, returning to Nagpur instead.
In an interesting turn of events, Deshmukh, who was presumed to have joined the Eknath Shinde camp, told reporters that he was ‘kidnapped’ and taken to Surat from where he ‘escaped.’
‘Over a hundred cops came and took me to a hospital. They pretended that I had a heart attack and forcefully tried to conduct some medical procedures on my body,’
Shinde to brief media today evening in Guwahati, Assam, according to an ANI report.
Uddhav Thackeray will also address the state through Facebook Live at 5 pm to speak on the political developments in Maharashtra.