Amid political turmoil in Maharashtra following a revolt by Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde, six members of legislative assembly (MLAs) and a member of legislative council (MLC) from the neighbouring state arrived in Gujarat's Surat city on Thursday and were later flown to Guwahati in Assam, where party rebels are camping, in two chartered flights, sources said.
Apart from the six MLAs, Shiv Sena MLC Ravindra Phatak also reached Guwahati in the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Assam from Surat, where dissidents were first camping after arriving from Mumbai on Monday night, to join the rebel camp.
Notably, Phatak was part of a two-member delegation sent by Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday to hold discussions with Shinde and other rebel Sena MLAs at a hotel in Surat to find a solution to the political crisis which has pushed the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to the brink of collapse.
As per passenger details accessed by the media, Phatak, along with Shiv Sena MLAs Dadaji Bhuse and Sanjay Rathod, left for Guwahati in a chartered flight from Surat on Thursday afternoon.
Bhuse is the agriculture minister in the MVA government.
In the morning, four other MLAs -- Mangesh Kudalkar, Sada Sarvankar, Ashish Jaiswal and Deepak Keskar -- reached Guwahati in another chartered plane which they boarded from the Surat airport, sources said, citing the flight passenger list.
The development came a day after four MLAs from Maharashtra, including two independents, had arrived at Surat and were subsequently taken to Assam in a chartered flight.
Prior to that, a group of over 30 rebel MLAs, led by Shinde, were flown to Guwahati from Surat on Wednesday morning.
The rebel leader and Sena MLAs supporting him had arrived in Surat on Monday night from Mumbai and checked into a luxury hotel.
The latest development is likely to add to the woes of the Shiv Sena-led MVA government, which is battling a survival crisis following the rebellion by Shinde, who claimed the support of over three dozen party MLAs.
Shinde is currently camping with 37 rebel MLAs of the Sena and nine independents in a Guwahati hotel.