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At least 30 Shiv Sena MLAs in Surat hotel under tight police security, sources claim

By around 2 pm, Sanjay Kute, the BJP MLA from Jalgaon in Maharashtra, was seen arriving at the hotel ostensibly to initiate a dialogue with the rebel MLAs.

Written by Kamal Saiyed | Surat |
Updated: June 21, 2022 8:52:21 pm
Dr Sanjay Kute arriving at the hotel.

At least 30 MLAs of the Shiv Sena under the leadership of Eknath Shinde, Minister for Urban Development in the Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra, were taken to a hotel in Surat in BJP-governed Gujarat, sources said Tuesday, indicating a rebellion that could possibly trigger the fall of the Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra.

Sources at the hotel said 30 rooms in Le Meridien had been taken by the MLAs. By around 2 pm, Sanjay Kute, the BJP MLA from Jalgaon in Maharashtra, was seen arriving at the hotel ostensibly to initiate a dialogue with the rebel MLAs.

Shiv Sena sent Thackeray’s confidantes Milind Narvekar and Ravindra Phatak to Surat to talk to Shinde. However, they were not allowed to meet him initially. They had to wait for nearly 20 minutes at the entry gates to the hotel after which they were allowed inside.

The hotel was placed under a tight security cordon of the Gujarat Police under the supervision of joint commissioner of police (Surat) Sharad Singhal. According to police sources, the hotel guests “have been thoroughly checked and only those who had booked the hotel prior to it being cordoned off were allowed with identity proof”. Surat police are also strictly checking vehicles going towards Dumas, which is a popular beachside destination for city residents. Barricades have been placed outside the hotel.

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Shinde, who is learnt to have arrived in Surat late Monday night, was at the hotel in the Dumas area and by Tuesday afternoon sources told The Indian Express that nearly 30 MLAs were with him. The Shiv Sena removed Shinde from the post of party group leader on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Sena MLA Nitin Deshmukh who was in the hotel as part of the rebel camp, fell ill and had to be admitted to New Civil Hospital in Surat. The Balapur MLA’s wife Pranjali has reported her husband as “missing” at the Civil Lines police station in Akola, Maharashtra.

At present, the Shiv Sena has 55 MLAs, the NCP 53 and the Congress 44 in the Maharashtra Assembly, while the BJP has 106 legislators. The strength of small parties and Independent MLAs is 29. The Assembly has a strength of 288 MLAs, but Sena MLA Ramesh Latke passed away last month and NCP members Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh are in prison in connection with money laundering cases.

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If the rebels want to merge with the BJP, 37 MLAs (two-thirds of 55) have to come together to ensure they do not face disqualification proceedings under the defection law.

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First published on: 21-06-2022 at 05:02:09 pm

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