In what signals another major crisis for the Maharashtra government, the sacked minister Eknath Shinde reportedly moved to Le Meridian hotel in BJP-ruled Gujarat's Surat with as many as 21 MLAs.

The sudden turn of events, it is widely believed in the political circles, has set off alarm bells for the Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra. Uddhav Thackeray called an emergency meeting on Tuesday afternoon at his residence, which several MLAs, reportedly, did not attend.

Uddhav Thackeray expresses desire to form government in New Delhi

More than 20 MLAs, believed to be with Shinde, went incommunicado. The development came soon after the speculations that there might have been cross voting in favour of the BJP in the state Legislative Council Polls.

On Tuesday afternoon, Thackeray sacked Eknath Shinde as the party's chief whip. Eknath Shinde also put out a tweet, signifying major shift, which read, "Balasaheb has taught us Hindutva. We have never and will never cheat for power regarding Balasaheb's thoughts and Dharamveer Anand Dighe Saheb's teachings."

Ifs and buts galore

It's a significant number of dissident MLA's believed to have moved into a hotel in Gujarat's Surat along with Eknath Shinde. If they join the BJP, it has a big chance of forming a government in Maharashtra, like it did in several other states where the government was toppled. The turn of events currently signals an even major crisis for the ruling alliance of Shiv Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party in Maharashtra.


Who is saying what?

Sharad Pawar, chief of Nationalist Congress Party which is a Shiv Sena ally, has said that he has "full faith" in Uddhav Thackeray and was hopeful that an amicable solution will be found. He also stated that it was an internal matter of the party and others need not jump to conclusions. Sharad Pawar is currently in Delhi for the Opposition's meeting on Presidential election.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut hit out at BJP for the turmoil and said that it was a conspiracy to topple Thackeray government, following the same tactics that were used in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Who is Eknath Shinde?

A prominent Shiv Sena leader in the region, Shinde is believed to be the backbone of the regional politics, having been elected consecutively for four terms in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly; from 2004 to 2019. He played a crucial role in strengthening Shiv Sena in the region and was also given the post of Leader of the Opposition in 2014 after Shiv Sena parted ways with the BJP.

Currently serving as a Minister of Urban Affairs in the coalition MVA (Maha Vikas Aghadi) government, Shinde is the face of Sena in Thane. He has strengthened the party in several places other than Thane and is responsible for organising big party events. He had also recently visited Ayodhya along with Maharashtra Minister Aditya Thackeray. His son Dr Srikant Shinde is a Shiv Sena MP from Kalyan.

Things to become clear soon?

In the meanwhile, AICC Maharashtra in-charge HK Patil has convened a Congress Legislative Party meeting on Tuesday. Eknath Shinde, it is widely rumoured in the political circles currently, may address a press conference soon. Till then, the political turmoil is expected to go through the circles of speculation, conspiracy and hearsay.