Amid the crisis in the Maharashtra government, with a rebel group of more than 40 Shiv Sena MLAs including independent MLAs are camping at a luxury hotel in Guwahati, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma claimed that he is not aware that the MLAs are staying in the hotel in the city.
"There are many good hotels in Assam, anyone can come there and stay...there is no issue with it. I don't know if Maharashtra MLAs are staying in Assam. MLAs of other states can also come and stay in Assam," Sarma told as quoted by ANI.
The rebel camp led by Sena MLA, Eknath Shinde, has already reached the critical number 37 required to split the party in the assembly without falling foul of the anti-defection law. With two more Sena MLAs, he will have 39. His total strength is now 42, including independent MLAs.
Mr Shinde's camp even posted visuals from the hotel in Guwahati to show he has 42 MLAs on his side.
In a last-ditch attempt to save the ruling Maharashtra alliance, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's team has decided to seek disqualification of 17 MLAs. Out of this, Team Thackeray has appealed to the Maharashtra assembly Deputy Speaker to disqualify 5 MLAs first.
The Sena may not move to disqualify more than 17, however, since that would bring the halfway mark down, which would benefit the BJP. Sena's play appears to be to go for disqualifying a few rebels to discourage the rest from facing elections, hence forcing them to return.
Moreover, the Eknath Shinde-led MLAs in Guwahati are expected to cross more than 50 as more MLAs are likely to join today.