The Shiv Sena ‘rebel’ group led by Eknath Shinde released pictures of MLA Nitin Deshmukh taking off in a private jet with other dissidents, a day after Deshmukh returned from the Eknath Shinde camp and claimed that he was ‘kidnapped’ and taken away against his own will. After missing for two days, Shinde finally returned to Nagpur and pledged his support to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, while alleging that he was chased by around 200 Gujarat cops as he was trying to hitch a ride to escape from Surat. He further claimed that the local police forcefully took him to a hospital and tried to get him operated under the pretext of him having suffered a heart attack.
Refuting his claims, the ‘rebel’ camp posted pictures of Deshmukh wherein he appeared to be relaxed while getting on a private jet with the other ‘rebel’ MLAs. In another picture, Deshmukh was seen smiling in a selfie clicked by his counterpart inside the jet.
Earlier in the day, Deshmukh, while addressing the press, said, “We were forcibly taken to Surat, I tried to run away but was caught by Surat police. Despite having no complications, doctors told me that I had a heart attack. 300-350 police personnel were keeping an eye on us.”
He also claimed that unlike him, another legislator wasn’t lucky enough to escape. “Before me, MLA Prakash Abitkar tried to get away from them but he could not. We got to know about the conspiracy against the MVA govt as soon as we reached Surat’s hotel,” Deshmukh told reporters.
Among the two MLAs that returned from Guwahati today, one legislator Kailash Patil said that he was forced to leave the Uddhav camp.
“We were trapped and taken to Surat, I walked a kilometre to run away from there. We will not ditch Shiv Sena which has made us MLA,” said Patil, as reported by news agency ANI.
Reacting to Patil’s claims, ‘rebel’ MLA Tanaji Sawant said that Patil was trying to gain Uddhav Thackeray’s sympathy. “MLA Kailash Patil is trying to gain sympathy of ‘Matoshree’ (Uddhav Thackeray) by fabricating stories. He is lying in front of the media. We had arranged for him to return to Mumbai from Surat. Eknath Shinde did not force any MLA to join him,” Sawant told news agency ANI.