Mumbai, 22 Jun (PTI): A minister from Maharashtra accompanying Shiv Sena rebel Eknath Shinde and others on Wednesday claimed a BJP MLA has been staying with them in Guwahati.
The minister of state for water resources and Prahar Janshakti Paksh leader, Bacchu Kadu, told a news channel over the phone that BJP MLA Sanjay Kute is staying with the rebel MLAs of Shiv Sena and Shinde, news agency PTI reported.
“BJP’s Sanjay Kute is with us. He is accompanying all the rebel MLAs of Shiv Sena and some Independents in Guwahati,” he said.
A day earlier, Mr Kute had met Mr Shinde and other rebel MLAs in a Surat hotel where they were staying after sneaking out of Mumbai.
Senior Sena leader and state cabinet minister Shinde along with a group of rebel Shiv Sena MLAs were flown to Guwahati from Surat in the early hours of Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MLA Sanjay Shirsat claimed that 40 MLAs are with Shinde and their number will go up to 46 by later afternoon.
Mr Shirsat, who is also accompanying Shinde, represents the Aurangabad (West) constituency.
“There are 35 MLAs of Shiv Sena and five Independent with us here (in Guwahati). This number will go up to 46 this afternoon. Of them, 40 will be of Shiv Sena (an addition of five MLAs). I cannot tell from which region of Maharashtra they are, I don’t have that authority,” he told a Marathi news channel.
He said rebel Sena MLAs are not angry with the party leadership but their grouse is against other MVA allies, the Congress and the NCP.
When asked why the disgruntled Sena MLAs waited for two-and-a-half years before rebelling, Shirsat referred to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ill-health of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.