The Shiv Sena rebel camp released photos of party MP Nitin Deshmukh taking a private jet for leisure with other rebel MPs, a day after he claimed he was ‘kidnapped’ and taken to Surat, Gujarat.
After disappearing for two days amid the revolt of Sena MPs led by Eknath Shinde, Mr Deshmukh reappeared in Surat yesterday and pledged his allegiance to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
He alleged that he was forcibly taken to a hospital in Surat by hundreds of police officers. There he was injected with something after learning he had suffered a heart attack, the Sena deputy alleged.
Mr. Deshmukh’s claims about the harrowing experience were, however, denied by Mr. Shinde’s camp along with the photos.
They show rebel MPs taking selfies in front of a sleek private jet on a sunny tarmac. Mr Deshmukh, dressed in a pink shirt, is seen smiling near the jet’s door. Inside the booth, MPs, including Mr. Deshmukh, sit happily.
The Shiv Sena today said it would consider leaving Maharashtra’s alliance with Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party, or NCP, and Congress, but only if the rebels return ‘within 24 hours’ – a huge fall as the rebel group led by Mr. Shinde gained more numbers.
Mr Shinde, camping in Guwahati with some 41 MPs, demanded that the Sena break its alliance with Congress and the NCP, saying Sena leaders have suffered the most in the past two and a half years of coalition rule. . The deputies have booked the hotel in Guwahati for a week, indicating that they are ready for the long term.