Mumbai: Come elections and it is time for poaching and breaking parties. Anticipating this move, the Shiv Sena, amidst current political uncertainty have camped their legislators at hotel Rangsharda, Bandra (West) under tight security on Thursday.
Sena has remained steadfast in its demand for sharing the term for chief minister for 2.5 years and 50 per cent of ministries with the BJP.
The 63 newly-elected legislators, including 56 from the Sena and seven Independent candidates, who joined the party after the assembly election, held a meeting with the Sena chief, Uddhav Thackeray at his residence ‘Matoshree’ on Thursday afternoon.
In a unanimous resolution, the legislators gave all powers to Thackeray to take a final decision to form the government. Soon after the meeting, the MLAs were taken to the Rangsharda hotel at Bandra (West), where they have been kept under tight security.
With a large number of police personnel flocking the streets, entry and exit points of the hotel are being barricaded by Mumbai police.
Party insiders informed, as many as 46 legislators were stationed inside Rangsharda on Thursday evening. After the dinner at night, they were split into different hotels across the city.
However, the Sena MLAs remained tight-lipped on the matter on Thursday, only stating that they were following the orders of the party high command.
“MLAs are only following what they are told to do. Party high command instructed us to stay at the hotel as there maybe an emergency situation,” said Uday Samant, four-time MLA from the Ratnagiri constituency.
Samant added the MLAs visited Uddhav to give him moral support and to assure party members will abide by whatever decision he takes. MLA from Sillod constituency, Abdul Sattar stated the Sena MLAs are as loyal as a soldier, it doesn’t matter who provokes, a Shiv Sainik will never betray his party.
“We Shiv Sainiks are loyal till our last breath. Not a single member is going to abandon the party in such a testing time,” stated Sattar.
Sattar asserted that Sena’s claim on the post of chief minister stands and if the BJP doesn’t agree, then they will have to sit on opposition benches in the government.
Later, calling a press conference, Member of Parliament (MP) of the Rajya Sabha and Sena spokesperson, Sanjay Raut stated that only the outstation MLAs are stationed at the hotel, because they have no other place to stay in Mumbai.
“Not everyone has a home in Mumbai, hence we have stationed the MLAs at a hotel so that they can avail all the amenities under one roof,” said Raut.
He further stated that the MLAs are not under any threat, the sole purpose of the drill is to make sure they are together and ensure they can go somewhere together in case there is an emergency situation in the state.
Raut affirmed, members of the Sena, Congress and NCP won’t cross sides, as the members of these parties are resolved and committed to the party. Reiterating that the next CM will be a Sena man, Raut added,
“We have the numbers to make our own CM and we will show that on the floor of the house. We have alternatives and we don’t speak without options and alternatives.”
Meanwhile on Thursday, in an editorial in the Sena’s mouth-piece ‘Saamana’, the Sena criticised the BJP of using money power to win over the newly-elected Sena legislators.
“There has been an increase in complaints of some politicians are trying to win over the Sena MLA’s with money power. Sena will not allow politics of devoid values in the state,” it said.
About Union minister and RPI(A) chief Ramdas Athawale, and RSP leader Mahadev Jankar, a minister in the govt, last week met Koshyari and urged him to invite BJP, Sena said,
“These leaders met the governor and expressed concern over govet formation, their worry is not about the state but their position in the next govt.”