After Shiv Sena moved its legislators to a suburban Mumbai hotel, the Congress is also reportedly mulling to shift its MLAs into a Jaipur hotel fearing poaching by the BJP as the deadline to form a new government in the state ends Saturday.
With no sign of a new government even two weeks after the declaration of polls results, the Congress is exercising caution due to the possibility of defection from its legislative wing.
According to reports, most of the 44 Congress MLAs landed at Jaipur airport in the early hours today. The remaining MLAs are expected to join by the afternoon.
However, there has been no official confirmation from the party.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar claimed that the party has not moved any of its MLAs. “If some of our MLAs have gone to any place it might be a personal visit,” he however added.
Maharashtra Congress leader Nitin Raut told ANI that there were reports that some of the party MLAs were approached by BJP leaders with money. He also claimed that two of the MLAs were offered around Rs 25 crore on Thursday.
“We will do our best to stop the horse-trading pattern that started in Karnataka,” he added.
Meanwhile, the BJP has denied the allegations of horse-trading.
BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said that the Congress and NCP have made allegations of horse-trading against the party and asked them to prove the charge within 48 hours or apologize to the people of Maharashtra.
Amid the political uncertainty in Maharashtra and unwilling to take any chances on potential poaching, the Shiv Sena on Thursday shifted all its 65 legislators to a private sea-facing hotel in suburban Bandra till the state political crisis is resolved.
The development came as leaders of the BJP, the single largest party with 105 seats, met Governor BS Koshyari on Thursday, but did not stake claim to form the government.
Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday chaired a meeting of the party’s new MLAs for over an hour, during which the legislators reportedly reiterated the demand for “equal- sharing of posts and responsibilities”.
The BJP has ruled out sharing the chief minister’s post on a rotational basis.
The tenure of the existing assembly ends on November 9, but the BJP and the Shiv Sena, which together have enough seats to form the next government, are engaged in a bitter tussle over power-sharing.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party has raised demand for the chief minister’s post on a rotational basis and implementation of a “50:50 power-sharing” formula, which entails equal allocation of ministerial portfolios.