The Shiv Sena issued an ultimatum to its MLAs on Wednesday, asking them to attend a meeting in Mumbai by 5 pm or face action, as he party’s crisis saw a dramatic escalation following a revolt by minister Eknath Shinde and other legislators.
In a letter sent via WhatsApp, email and SMS, the Shiv Sena called all MLAs to a meeting at Varsha, the official residence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Mr Thackeray, who has Covid, is expected to chair the meeting via video conferencing.
“If you do not attend this meeting at 5 pm today, it will be presumed that you intend to leave the party and your membership is liable to be cancelled under the law,” the letter said.
The letter came after Mr Thackeray held a meeting of his cabinet via video conferencing around noon. “11 issues were discussed, but the current situation was not one of them,” sources said.
Maharashtra plunged deeper into political turmoil on Wednesday as rebel Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde flew to Guwahati in BJP-ruled Assam this morning and claimed he had the support of 40 of the party’s 55 MLAs and six independents.
“There is no question of changing parties. We will follow Balasaheb Thackeray’s Hindutva,” Mr Shinde told NDTV after arriving in Guwahati.
The exact number of rebel Shiv Sena MLAs travelling in the chartered flight from Surat in Gujarat, where they were camping earlier, could not be confirmed but the flight had 89 passengers, including onboard crew, news agency PTI said quoting sources.
The MLAs arrived here from Surat and were taken to the hotel in three buses of the Assam State Transport Corporation.
The Shiv Sena, which heads the MVA, has 55 MLAs, followed by allies NCP (53) and the Congress (44) in the 288-assembly where the current simple majority mark is 144.
The MLAs were taken to Surat from Mumbai on Tuesday and the decision to shift them to Guwahati was taken on security grounds, according to a BJP source, PTI reported.