- Ahmed Patel seen in video addressing Congress MLAs in Maharashtra
- Congress MLAs moved to hotel in Mumbai ahead of trust vote in assembly
- "We've to be united and keep our morale high": Mr Patel to Congress MLAs
After the BJP made a swift comeback in Maharashtra on Saturday morning, leaving the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress in shock, the three parties have sequestered their MLAs in an attempt to protect them from poaching. The three parties have taken their MLAs to luxury hotels in Mumbai itself, anticipating that they will have to be rushed in anytime to the state assembly for a floor test in which the BJP has to prove its majority.
While Sharad Pawar has shifted his MLAs of the NCP to Renaissance Hotel in Mumbai's Powai, the Congress has moved its 44 MLAs to JW Marriott in Mumbai.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel was seen in a video, urging them to stay united in the face of the "challenge" thrown at them by the BJP.
"As you all know, we have worked hard to reach here. On November 30, we will win again. It is necessary and it is certain," Mr Patel is seen telling the Congress MLAs.
Sources from the Congress and the Sena have said keeping their MLAs together would be crucial to defeating the BJP in a floor test that may be held by November 30.
"The challenge is not just from the Chief Minister but from the Governor and the central government, especially from (Narendra) Modi and Amit Shah. It is very necessary to defeat them," Mr Patel, standing in a hall, tells the Congress MLAs. "So under such circumstances, we must stay united and keep our morale high," he adds.
Other Congress leaders such as Mallikarjun Kharge, Sushilkumar Shinde and KC Venugopal are seen sitting next to Ahmed Patel.
"The only question is we have to be one and united. We have to keep our morale high and not show weakness anywhere. We have to be united because the BJP has given us this challenge," Mr Patel says in the video.
The Shiv Sena has moved 55 of its 56 MLAs to Lalit Hotel in Mumbai's Andheri. They have also been ordered to surrender their mobile phones, Sena sources told news agency IANS.
The Supreme Court today asked the centre to produce the letters of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis claiming majority and that of the Governor inviting to form government. The top court was hearing a petition filed by the Sena, the Congress and the NCP against the centre's move to end President's Rule and the Governor's move to invite Devendra Fadnavis to form government.
Early Saturday morning, the BJP made a deft political move with Mr Fadnavis taking oath as Chief Minister with a deputy, Ajit Pawar, whose NCP had just hours before sealed a Shiv Sena-led alliance along with the Congress. Ajit Pawar's uncle Sharad Pawar said his party is still with the Shiv Sena and its chief Uddhav Thackeray.