Guwahati (PTI): A group of MPs from Maharashtra, led by dissident Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, arrived here on Wednesday morning on a charter plane and were taken to a luxury hotel on the outskirts of the city under high security.
The MPs were received at the airport by BJP MPs Pallab Lochan Das and Sushanta Borgohain Shinde, who at first refused to speak to media waiting outside the airport, later said he had “the support of 40 deputies”.
The exact number of Shiv Sena rebel MPs traveling on the flight could not be confirmed, but the flight had 89 passengers, including crew on board, sources said.
The MPs arrived here from Surat and were taken to the hotel in three Assam State Transport Corporation buses.
Earlier, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut claimed that 14-15 Sena MPs including some ministers were with Shinde in Surat city, Gujarat.
However, another party leader said the number could be 23.
The Shiv Sena, which leads the MVA, has 55 MPs, followed by NCP allies (53) and Congress (44) in the assembly of 288 where the current simple majority is 144.
Speculation is rife that Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was likely to meet the MPs during the day, although the BJP party or his office have yet to confirm the meeting.
Tight security was imposed with a huge group of police stationed in and around the hotel.
The MPs were flown to Surat from Mumbai on Tuesday and the decision to transfer them to Guwahati was taken for security reasons, according to a BJP source.
This may be the first time MPs from a western Indian state have been taken to a northeastern state after their rebellion against the party leadership.
The government led by Shiv Sena in Maharashtra is facing a crisis following the revolt of a section of its MP led by Shinde.