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Maharashtra political crisis | Here are 10 points you need to know

Shiv Sena decided to remove Eknath Shinde as its Legislative party leader (HT_PRINT)Premium
Shiv Sena decided to remove Eknath Shinde as its Legislative party leader (HT_PRINT)

This comes after suspected cross-voting in Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) elections in which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bagged five seats, in a major blow to the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance government. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena won two each while Congress was able to clinch one seat out of the total 10 seats in Legislative Council that went to the polls on Monday.

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Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, with 33 party MLAs and seven independent MLAs, who were staying at Le Meridien hotel in Surat have left Surat International Airport and reached Assam's Guwahati.

"A total of 40 MLAs are present here. We will carry Balasaheb Thackeray's Hindutva," said Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde after arriving in Guwahati, Assam. 

As per ANI report, a group of Maharashtra MLAs arrived at Radisson Blu Hotel in Guwahati, Assam.

This comes after suspected cross-voting in Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) elections in which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bagged five seats, in a major blow to the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance government. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena won two each while Congress was able to clinch one seat out of the total 10 seats in Legislative Council that went to the polls on Monday.

Also Read: Threat to Maharashtra government: Are ‘unreachable’ MLAs joining BJP?

Here are 10 points you need to know:

1. Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, who was camping in Gujarat before leaving for Assam with around 33 party MLAs following the cross-voting in Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) polls said that they have not left Balasaheb Thackeray's Shiv Sena. His remarks came as speculation is rife that Shinde along with other MLAs might join the BJP in a bid to topple the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. In a statement he said, “We have not left Balasaheb Thackeray's Shiv Sena and will not leave it. We have been following Balasaheb's Hindutva and will carry it further."

2. After the MLC elections, Shinde along with some other Shiv Sena MLAs was staying at Le Meridien hotel in Surat. A Shiv Sena delegation comprising Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's close aides Milind Narvekar and Ravindra Phatak also met Shinde and other party legislators in Surat.

3. Shiv Sena on Tuesday decided to remove Eknath Shinde as its Legislative party leader after Shinde and some MLAs of his party have gone incommunicado and have been camping in Surat. Sewri MLA Ajay Chaudhary will be the new Shiv Sena Legislative Party leader

4. Amid the drama, Shinde has also dropped "Shiv Sena" from his Twitter bio. He has been instrumental in strengthening the organisation in the Thane region and was made the Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in 2014 after the Shiv Sena parted ways with the BJP. Shinde was appointed as a cabinet minister in the MVA government. However, sources said Shinde has been feeling sidelined since the formation of the MVA government. His son Shrikant Shinde represents the Kalyan Lok Sabha seat.

5. Sanjay Raut has alleged that his party MLA Nitin Deshmukh was kidnapped from Mumbai and claimed he is in the BJP's control in Gujarat's Surat, where reportedly a total of 22 Shiv Sena MLAs are camping. He further alleged that Deshmukh was brutally beaten up by Gujarat Police. "MLA Nitin Deshmukh is in BJP control in Surat. He was kidnapped from Mumbai. On Monday night, he tried to free himself. Then he was brutally beaten up by the Gujarat Police and goons. The goons of Mumbai are also there. Violence on Gujarat soil?" Raut said in a tweet. Earlier, Raut had said that over 15 Shiv Sena MLAs have become "unreachable".

6. As the probability of a political crisis in Maharashtra intensifies, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said that there is no possibility of them joining hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He also said that this is the third attempt being made to topple the Maharashtran government. “Cross voting happens in such polls, nothing new in that; will find a solution," Pawar reiterated.

7. In the legislative council elections, BJP won five seats while the Sena and the NCP won two seats each. The Congress managed to win just one. The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine has 165 MLAs in the 288-member house, while the BJP has 121 MLAs.

8. The BJP, however, has not yet said it is linked to the crisis. “We're minutely observing the turn of events. It's a little premature to say that it'll lead to any changes. It's a handle-with-care situation. We have to see it very keenly. We are observing all situations," Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil said. Former Maharashtra chief minister and BJP leader Devedra Fadnavis is in Delhi to meet Amit Shah as crisis brews in the state. “It is our tradition that we need to go to our national leaders with sweets, after winning an election. Devendra Fadnavis has gone to distribute sweets among our party leaders in Delhi," Chandrakant Patil told reporters, speaking about the MLC polls.

9. Meanwhile, Congress appointed Kamal Nath as the party's Observer to Maharashtra "in wake of recent political developments in the state.

10. Congress MLAs meet at Legislature Party leader Balasaheb Thorat's residence in Mumbai. Presided over by Maharashtra Congress-incharge HK Patil, meeting had 42 out of 44 Congress MLAs present, along with party leaders Nana Patole, Ashok Chavan, and others.

The BJP and the Shiv Sena used to be allies until 2019 when after contesting the Maharashtra Assembly elections together both parted ways over the issue of the chief ministerial's post. Following days of the political impasse and high-voltage drama, the Shiv Sena finally formed the government along with the Congress and the NCP, with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray heading the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance government.

(With Inputs from Agencies)

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