Maharashtra Crisis: Why Eknath Shinde-led Sena Rebels Shifted From Gujarat To Assam?

After two days in Gujarat, Eknath Shinde reached Assam's capital Guwahati on Wednesday morning with all the MLAs.

Eknath Shinde with MLAs in Guwahati
Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde with other MLAs at a hotel in Guwahati, Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: The high political drama within Shiv Sena continued on Thursday as rebel MLA Eknath Shinde stood firm on his demand to rejoin hands with BJP in Maharashtra. Shinde has been camping with other rebel MLAs in a Guwahati hotel and gearing up support against Uddhav Thackeray and the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance with Congress and NCP.

On June 21, Eknath Shinde left for Surat in Gujarat with more than 30 MLAs along with him. Following which a meeting of MVA was called at the residence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray late on June 22 and all the Shiv Sena MLAs were shifted to a hotel in Worli. After two days in Gujarat, Shinde reached Assam’s capital Guwahati on Wednesday morning with all the MLAs. Now the question arises why the rebel MLAs of Shiv Sena have been shifted from Gujarat to Assam.

There are many reasons for moving the rebel MLAs from the border state of Gujarat. The first reason is that the neighboring states of Gujarat are Maharashtra and Rajasthan, from where it would have been very easy to reach the rebel MLAs. It was only after two MLAs from the Shinde camp fled and went back to Mumbai that the rebels understood this.

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The neighboring state of Rajasthan also posed a threat as its Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot, has often managed to outdo BJP. If Congress, which is a member of the MVA alliance in Maharashtra, had given Gehlot the responsibility in the current situation, then BJP’s ambitions would have been threatened.

Further, Gujarat Assembly elections are scheduled to be held this year, and Congress could make this a poll issue. As BJP has been in power for the last 25 years, it is likely that anti-incumbency against the party would be high. In such a situation, BJP would not want to take any risk.

Why Assam?

In Assam, Shiv Sena has no presence and Congress has also ceased to exist. At the same time, the saffron wave is going strong all over Northeast India. Like in UP, BJP’s flag is flying high in Assam too. There could not have been a better state to house the MLAs who rebelled against the Shiv Sena over the issue of ‘Hindutva’.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was once a Congressman, but after joining BJP, his stature has increased a lot. He is currently one of the firebrand leaders of BJP. On the issue of Hindutva, he is viewed on par with the likes of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. For rebels, BJP does not have a better example than Hemant Biswa Sarma.