Eknath Shinde has a late night meeting with Fadnavis

Shiv Sena rebel leader Eknath Shinde met Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP in Gujarat last night to discuss a possible government formation in Maharashtra, sources said.

Eknath Shinde flew to Vadodara on a special flight last night from Guwahati in Assam where he is camping with nearly 40 rebel MPs. Home Minister Amit Shah was also in Vadodara last night, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

After talks with Fadnavis, Shinde returned to the main city in BJP-ruled Assam. Shinde and the rebels want to ally themselves with their former partner, the BJP, which they claim is a “natural ally” of the Sena.

“We are traditionally the rivals of the NCP and Congress, they are our main challengers in the constituencies. We asked CM Uddhav Thackeray for a natural alliance to be made,” rebel MP Chimanrao Patil said in a video tweeted by Eknath Shinde.

The rebels have said they are still with the Shiv Sena and claim they have a two-thirds majority. Rebel MP Deepak Kesarkar further demanded recognition of their group ‘Shiv Sena Balasaheb’ and warned to go to court if this is not done and denied the role of BJP behind their revolt.

Despite being reduced to a minority, the Thackeray team maintained that they would win in the event of a vote of confidence. “You already know what was discussed in the meeting, the important thing is that we will not forget the betrayal done by the rebel Shiv Sena MPs. We (Shiv Sena) will win for sure,” Aaditya Thackeray after a party meeting in Mumbai.

Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut attacked the rebels, camping in BJP-ruled Assam. “How long are you going to hide in Guwahati,” he asked in his tweet which included the image of Vice President Narhari Zirwal, who served notices on 16 rebel MPs over Sena’s disqualification plea. .

The Shiv Sena passed six resolutions at the national executive meeting chaired by Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday. At the Sena Bhavan meeting, Mr Thackeray was authorized to take action against the rebels. His camp also challenged the rebels’ decision to call themselves “Shiv Sena Balasaheb Thackeray” in a letter to the Electoral Commission.

The battle for control of the Shiv Sena between Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde played out in the streets of Maharashtra on Saturday with the cadres loyal to the Thackerays staging protests against the rebels by defacing their banners, throwing rocks and vandalizing the office of a Member of Parliament in various parts of the State.

Mumbai Police have deployed their personnel to the city offices of various political parties and leaders, including ministers, MPs and MPs, and their residences as a security measure, an official said on Saturday.

The restraining orders issued by the Mumbai Police in the first week of June will remain in effect until July 10. They prohibit the gathering of five or more people in one place.

With NDTV inputs

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