Shiv Sena moves MLAs to hotel amid poaching fears, Aaditya Thackeray pays late-night visit

Shiv Sena moves MLAs to hotel amid poaching fears, Aaditya Thackeray pays late-night visit
The Shiv Sena has moved all its MLAs to Hotel Rangsharda to prevent any ‘poaching’ attempts by the BJP, which has to either stake claim as the largest party or pave way for President’s Rule

As the impasse over government formation in Maharashtra continues, the Shiv Sena on Thursday shifted its 64 legislators to a private sea-facing hotel in Mumbai amid fears of ‘poaching’ by its ally, BJP.

The legislators, who are from Mumbai and different parts of Maharashtra, were lodged at the Hotel Rangsharda near the Bandstand in Bandra West immediately after their meeting with party president Uddhav Thackeray at Matoshree.

During the meeting, all MLAs have unanimously authorised Uddhav to take the final decision on government formation. “Uddhavji’s will be the final word,” Sena MLA and whip Sunil Prabhu told reporters after the meeting.

Of the 64 legislators, 56 won the polls by fighting on a Sena ticket and the other eight are lending support to the party.

The MLAs will be staying at the hotel for two days that are considered very crucial for government formation as the term of the incumbent government ends today.

When questioned on the move, Sena MP Sanjay Raut denied that any of their legislators would be susceptible to poaching.

“Not all MLAs are from Mumbai. They do not have government accommodation. Also, Uddhavji wants all of them to stay together….in case they need to go somewhere at short notice,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sena leader and Worli MLA-elect Aaditya Thackeray met the newly-elected MLAs at the hotel during the wee hours of Friday. He arrived at Hotel Rangsharda late on Thursday and left at around 1 am, sources said.

The Thackeray scion is being projected as the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate, a post that has become the biggest bone of contention between the two allies.

The BJP and Shiv Sena contested the recently concluded Maharashtra Assembly Elections together. However, even after clearing the majority mark, the parties are yet to form the government amid deadlock over the post of the CM.

While the Shiv Sena is not ready to settle for anything less than an equal share in cabinet portfolios and the chief minister’s post for 2.5 years, the BJP is adamant on the incumbent Devendra Fadnavis helming the state’s affairs for all 5 years.

The BJP has emerged as the single largest party by winning 105 seats in the recently held Assembly polls. The Shiv Sena got 56 seats in the 288-member Assembly.

Meanwhile, as the term of the present Maharashtra Assembly nears completion, state Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to discuss legal and constitutional issues.

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