Three more Shiv Sena legislators arrived at a Guwahati hotel where the rebel MLAs led by Eknath Shinde are lodged on Thursday.
The three leaders who arrived at the hotel include MLA and Agriculture Minister Dada Bhuse, MLA Sanjay Rathore and MLC Ravindra Phatak.
Notably, Phatak was believed to be a close associate of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray who had sent him as an emissary to Surat where the rebel MLAs were lodged. Interestingly, he also joined the Shinde-led faction.
Shiv Sena MLA and Agriculture Minister Dada Bhuse, MLA Sanjay Rathore and MLC Ravindra Phatak reached Radisson Blu Hotel in Guwahati.
According to the sources, the number of MLAs in the Shinde faction has touched the 37 mark which is more than two-thirds of the Shiv Sena MLAs.
With this, Shinde now has the support of 44 MLAs in total, out of which 37 are from Shiv Sena and 7 are Independents.
The situation for Thackeray continues to become grimmer with his close aide switching sides and the chief minister himself falling short of numbers.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday held the central government led by the BJP responsible for the ongoing political crisis in Maharashtra where around 40 Shiv Sena MLAs have revolted against the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and are currently camping in Guwahati.
Kharge alleged that the BJP-led Centre is attempting to "destabilise" the "strong" Maha Vikas Aghadi government in view of the forthcoming presidential poll next month as they need numbers to get their presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu victorious in the poll slated to be held on July 18.
"The MLAs were first taken to Surat where there is a BJP rule, then they were shifted to Guwahati. The BJP wants to destabilise the Maharashtra government. MVA is a strong government that the BJP is attempting to destabilise. The BJP wants that there should not be a single non-BJP government in this country," Kharge alleged.
"The presidential poll is also forthcoming. They need the numbers also. So they want to topple the government before the presidential election. We can say that the Central government and the BJP are responsible for this. They want to gain power by destabilising the stable government in the state," the Congress leader hit out at the BJP adding that they "did the same in the past too in Karnataka, MP and Goa".
Meanwhile, the Eknath Shinde-led rebel faction of the Shiv Sena on Thursday released photographs of Sena MLA Nitin Deshmukh who returned to Maharashtra a day ago and alleged that he was forcibly taken to Surat in Gujarat.