Stunned by NCP chief Sharad Pawar's nephew Ajit Pawar's move to help the BJP form a government in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena has brought its 55 MLAs in a hotel in Navi Mumbai to avoid poaching.
According to a Shiv Sena source, 55 out of 56 MLAs have been brought at the Hotel Lalit in Navi Mumbai. All the legislators have been asked to submit their mobile phones and two MLAs are being allotted to a room to keep a close vigil on their movements.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya Thackeray also reached the hotel to meet their legislators.
Earlier in the day, the Congress took all its 44 MLAs to party-ruled Madhya Pradesh's capital Bhopal to avoid any poaching attempts. Party sources said former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and senior party leader Digvijaya Singh has been tasked to keep the legislators together.
Party source said keeping the MLAs together is crucial to defeat the BJP in the Assembly floor test in Maharashtra.
In the ongoing Maharashtra political drama, this is not the first time that the Congress has taken its legislators to a safer place. After the results of the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly were declared on October 24, the party had flown all its MLAs to party-ruled Rajasthan's Jaipur.
The political drama in the western state started after the BJP, which emerged as the single largest party by winning 105 seats, rejected the request of its pre-poll alliance partner Shiv Sena for a rotational Chief Minister.
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had first invited the BJP to form the government. After it refused, he invited the Shiv Sena followed by the NCP with 54 seats the next day. But before the deadline for its response ended, Koshyari submitted his report to the government calling for the President's rule in the state on November 12.