Rebel Sena MLAs shifted to Mumbai hotel after return from Goa

The rebel Maharashtra Shiv Sena MLAs and Independents were taken to a star hotel in south Mumbai in heavy security after they returned to the city from Goa in a special flight on Saturday night, the police said.

As many as 50 MLAs, who support Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, including 39 rebel legislators of the Shiv Sena, flew to Mumbai in a chartered flight.

Shinde, who had flown to Goa in the morning, accompanied them back.

Their flight landed at the Mumbai airport around 8 pm nearly 50 minutes after it took off from Dabolim airport in Goa.

A posse of police personnel was deployed along the route between the airport and the starred hotel in south Mumbai to ensure the smooth movement of buses carrying the MLAs escorted by Mumbai Police, officials said.

Traffic was halted for some time when the buses left the airport.

The chief minister travelled in one of the buses carrying the MLAs, officials added.

A special two-day session of the state legislature will begin on Sunday which will see the election for the post of Assembly Speaker as well as a floor test of the new government.

This comes after Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday expelled Shinde from the party for indulging in “anti-party activities”.

“In exercise of powers vested in me as Shiv Sena party president, I remove you from the post of Shiv Sena leader in the party organisation,” Thackeray wrote in a letter addressed to the Maharashtra CM, who had led a faction of rebel Sena MLAs.

In a virtual address to the public on Friday, Thackeray said that if Union Home Minister Amit Shah had stuck to the original deal of making a Sena leader CM for 2.5 years there would have been no MVA and a BJP leader would have been Chief Minister today.

“About what happened yesterday, I had told Amit Shah earlier as well that there should be a Shiv Sena CM for 2.5 years (during Shiv Sena-BJP alliance). Had they done this earlier, there would’ve been no Maha Vikas Aghadi,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party is preparing to ensure that its Colaba MLA Rahul Narvekar is chosen as Speaker of the Maharashtra assembly in the election to be held on Sunday — and official recognition is granted to the rebel Shiv Sena group led by Shinde ahead of the trust vote to be held a day later.

The Maha Vikas Aghadi, meanwhile, has fielded Shiv Sena MLA Rajan Salvi.

Eknath Shinde, who took oath as the chief minister of Maharashtra on Thursday, will have to prove his majority in the state Assembly on Monday. A special session of the Maharashtra Assembly will be held on 3 and 4 July.

Sources close to ANI mentioned that a special session of the Maharashtra assembly is to be held on July 3 and 4.

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has asked CM Shinde to prove his majority on the floor of the House.

On June 20, Uddhav Thackeray was surprised when he realised that Eknath Shinde had flown to Surat in BJP-ruled Gujarat along with 11 MLAs.

They were put up at the luxury hotel, which had turned into a fortress of sorts with nearly 400 policemen guarding it.

Amid growing speculation about the rebel camp’s intentions, Shinde broke his silence and said that all the MLAs remained “staunch Shiv Sainiks” and “would never betray the ideals of Balasaheb” (the Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray for power.

Later, Shinde decided to shift its camp to Goa.

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