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Shiv Sena may shift MLAs out of Mumbai, seize phones to prevent BJP poaching

Initially, the Sena MLAs were scheduled to be moved to Rajasthan for a couple of days on Friday evening.

Written by Vishwas Waghmode | Mumbai | Published: November 24, 2019 4:15:13 am
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

With Devendra Fadnavis sworn in as Chief Minister and Ajit Pawar as Deputy Chief Minister early Saturday, and the new alliance still short of the halfway mark, the Shiv Sena is keeping a hawk’s eye on its legislators.

Initially, the Sena MLAs were scheduled to be moved to Rajasthan for a couple of days on Friday evening. However, following an address by chief Uddhav Thackeray at his residence on Friday morning, the plan was dropped as the talks between the Congress, NCP and Sena seemed to be moving towards forming the government. The MLAs were thus shifted to a hotel in Andheri (East).

Accusing Sena leader Sanjay Raut of misleading Uddhav Thackeray, senior BJP leader Girish Mahajan said, “He has trampled the party’s honour. The entire state has heard what Raut said in the last one month about the BJP and its central leadership, including PM Modi.”

With the Governor not setting any time limit for the BJP to prove its majority, the Sena is among the parties fearful of its legislators being poached.

“The BJP may indulge in horse-trading to reach the halfway mark and may poach legislators from all parties, including the Sena. Although we have moved them to a hotel in Andheri, we may shift them outside Mumbai,” said a leader, adding that the party is considering imposing restrictions on the use of mobile phones by the MLAs.

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The Sena, Congress and NCP have moved a writ petition in the Supreme Court against the formation of government by the BJP and have asked for an immediate floor test.

“This is to compel the BJP to undertake a floor test immediately and to prevent horse-trading,” said a Sena leader, adding, “The three parties would first work together to defeat the BJP’s Speaker candidate from being elected and then the saffron party in the floor test.”

After addressing a press conference on Saturday afternoon along with NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Thackeray went to Shivalaya, the party headquarters near the Mantralaya, and held a meeting with legislators. In the evening, Thackeray met legislators in the Andheri hotel.

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“The Sena chief asked us not to worry about government formation by the BJP. He asked us to keep calm. He said that we need to be united in such times,” said an MLA.

Another legislator said that Thackeray informed the legislators about the negotiations that took place on Friday with the Congress and NCP on government formation. “He assured us that there will be a Sena-led government in the state,” the legislator added.

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