- Shiv Sena MLA Nitin Deshmukh claimed that he had been "forcibly taken" to Surat
- In retort, Eknath Shinde released images of Deshmukh with other MLAs in a private jet
- Deshmukh 'escaped' from Surat to Maha, and pledged loyalty to Sena president Uddhav Thackeray
Maharashtra political crisis: In yet another twist amid the political crisis in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena MLA Nitin Deshmukh claimed that he had been "forcibly taken" to Surat. In retort, rebel leader Eknath Shinde released images of Deshmukh with other MLAs in what appears to be a private jet.
Deshmukh had claimed that he, along with other MLAs were forcibly taken to Surat. "I tried to run away but was caught by Surat police. Despite having no complications, doctors told me that I had a heart attack. 300-350 police personnel were keeping an eye on us."
"Before me, MLA Prakash Abitkar tried to get away from them but he could not. We got to know about the conspiracy against the MVA govt as soon as we reached Surat's hotel," the Shiv Sena MLA from Balapur in the Akola district of Maharashtra said.
After the allegations, rebel leader Shinde released images of Nitin Deshmukh with other rebel MLAs as 'evidence'.
'I was given injections forcibly': Deshmukh's claims
The Shiv Sena MLA from Balapur in Akola district of Maharashtra was among 10-odd legislators who came to Surat from Mumbai on Monday night along with Shinde and checked into the luxury hotel. Deshmukh was rushed to the civil hospital from the hotel on Monday night itself after his health deteriorated, sources informed but did not elaborate on the nature of his ailment that led to the hospitalization. Speaking to reporters at the Nagpur airport, Akola MLA Deshmukh said he somehow managed to return safely to Maharashtra from Surat and pledged loyalty to Sena president Uddhav Thackeray.
"I am a Shivsainik of Uddhav Thackeray and Balasaheb Thackeray. I am in good health. On Tuesday, I was taken to a hospital in Surat by 20-25 people and police personnel. They said I had suffered a heart attack but I never suffered any heart attack. My blood pressure also didn't shoot up. Their intention was wrong. I was given some injections forcibly," he claimed.
A day earlier, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had claimed that some MLAs accompanying Shinde to Surat were misled and "kidnapped" to Gujarat.
He had said that Nitin Deshmukh was beaten up by the police and goondas under 'Operation Kamal' in Surat when he tried to escape and suffered a heart attack.
In her complaint filed with the Akola police, Deshmukh's wife had said that her husband had become unreachable from Monday night.
Maharashtra political crisis
Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government is battling a survival crisis following the rebellion of senior Sena minister Shinde and a sizeable number of MLAs belonging to the Uddhav Thackeray-led party. CM Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday night vacated his official residence in south Mumbai and moved to family home in suburban Bandra, hours after offering to quit the top post amid a rebellion by Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde.