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why eknath shinde went guwahati?

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Answer # 1 #

This second Assam visit, which has been on the cards for a while, is to be a ‘thanksgiving tour’ following the successful formation of the Shinde-Fadnavis government in Maharashtra in June this year.

Following his intra-party revolt in June this year, Mr. Shinde, along with 39 rebel MLAs and 10 independent MLAs, had decamped in Guwahati’s Radisson Blu hotel for more than a week.

The MLAs had then visited and prayed at the Kamakhya Devi Temple before leaving the flood-hit Guwahati.

Their ‘flight’ to BJP-ruled Assam and subsequent stay at the plush hotel evoked sharp criticism from the Uddhav Thackeray camp, particularly Aaditya Thackeray, who accused the rebels of having enjoyed themselves while the people of the north-eastern State were reeling under the onslaught of the floods.

Before leaving for Goa and then for Maharashtra, Mr. Shinde and the MLAs, as a token of goodwill, donated ₹51 lakh to the flood-afflicted people of Assam.

Following the smooth formation of the Shinde-Fadnavis government, Mr. Shinde and the MLAs had said they would return to Guwahati and re-visit the temple with their families.

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Dariusz Pushpavalli
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Answer # 2 #

Eknath Sambhaji Shinde (pronunciation: ; born 9 February 1964) is an Indian politician who is serving as the 20th and current Chief Minister of Maharashtra since 30 June 2022. He is also serving as the Leader of Shiv Sena since February 2023 and the Leader of the House, Maharashtra Legislative Assembly since July 2022. He is also the Member of Legislative Assembly for the Kopri-Pachpakhadi constituency of Thane, Maharashtra since 2009 and was formerly the MLA of Thane constituency from 2004 to 2009.

He was earlier the Cabinet Minister of Urban Development and Public Works (Public Undertakings) and State Border defence (second) in the Cabinet of Uddhav Thackeray from 2019 to 2022 and the Cabinet Minister of Public Works (Public Undertakings) and Public Health and Family Welfare in the Devendra Fadnavis ministry from 2014 to 2019, Chief Leader of Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena from 2022 to 2023 and the 25th Leader of the Opposition, Maharashtra Legislative Assembly from 2014 to 2014.

Shinde hails from the Dare Village, Jawali taluka in Satara, Maharashtra, and belongs to the Maratha community. His family moved to Thane (in the Mumbai outskirts). He studied until 11th standard at Mangala High School & Junior College, Thane. Shinde left school to support his family, however, he resumed his education in 2014 after joining the government ministry. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University in 2020.

Shinde was awarded D.Litt. (Doctor of Literature) by D Y Patil University at the convocation of the university in Navi Mumbai on 28 March 2023, at the hands of Maharashtra governor Ramesh Bais and University chancellor Dr Vijay Patil.

Shinde used to drive an autorickshaw to support his family before entering politics.

Shinde was introduced to politics by then Thane Shivsena President Anand Dighe in early 1980. Shinde became successor to Dighe's legacy after his death in 2001. He has been elected as Member of Legislative Assembly since 2004 for four consecutive terms.

Shinde was in favor of breaking the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance and reestablishing an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party. He requested Uddhav Thackeray to break the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance due to ideological differences and unfair treatment by the Congress Party and NCP. His fellow Shiv Sena members said that their complaints were ignored by Uddhav Thackeray and Uddhav favored the Congress Party and NCP over his own Shiv Sena members. Shinde was able to gather 2/3rd of members from his party to support his request. The crisis began on 21 June 2022 when Shinde and several other MLAs of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition moved to Surat in BJP-governed Gujarat, throwing the coalition into a chaos. As a result of Shinde's revolt, Uddhav Thackeray resigned from the post of Chief Minister of Maharashtra and said that he will also resign from the Maharashtra Legislative Council. Shinde successfully reestablished an alliance with the BJP and was sworn in as the 20th Chief Minister, with Bharatiya Janata Party's Devendra Fadnavis as the Deputy Chief Minister.

After Eknath Shinde established the government, he started using the Shiv Sena name and symbols without Uddhav Thackrey's permission. This created issues as Uddhav Thackeray also claimed to be the leader of Shiv Sena. Uddhav's faction challenged this in court, which was eventually moved to the Election Commission of India. The Commission recognized Eknath Shinde's faction as the real Shiv Sena party, which ended the leadership dispute. The Election Commission also found the changes made to the Shiv Sena party constitution in 2018, under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray, to be undemocratic. The amendments centralized the party's control and were criticized for not allowing free, fair, and transparent elections for the party positions.

Shinde is married to Lata Shinde.

On 2 June 2000, their son Dipesh (aged 11) and daughter Shubhada (aged 7) went boating in a lake near their native village in Maharashtra. The boat overturned and both the children died by drowning. Shinde went into a period of depression for several months. Anand Dighe provided emotional support to Shinde and entrusted him with greater responsibility in order to keep his mind occupied and away from depression.

Their surviving child, Shrikant Shinde, is an orthopaedic surgeon who has also been the elected Member of Parliament to the Lok Sabha from the Kalyan constituency since 2014 (re-elected in 2019).

Dharmaveer, a 2022 Indian Marathi-language biographical drama film by Pravin Tarde, covered Anand Dighe and Eknath Shinde's life. Kshitij Date played the role of Eknath Shinde. Eknath Shinde has a starring role in Dharmaveer as one of Dighe’s most loyal foot soldiers.

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Aria Carulla
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Answer # 3 #

The Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi comprising Sharad Pawar-led NCP, Congress and the Shiv Sena faction led by Uddhav Thackeray however, described the government as “unconstitutional” and pointed to the fact that the visit coincides with the Constitution Day.

Shinde and the MLAs loyal to him first travelled to Surat before heading to Guwahati where they camped and returned to Mumbai via Goa.

Before they headed back to the home state in June, the rebels visited the Kamakhya Devi Temple and offered prayers.

In Shiv Sena, as of now 40 of the 56 MLAs and 13 of the 19 MPs are with the Shinde-faction, the group which is known as Balasaheb’s Shiv Sena while the Thackeray-group is known as Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray).

Some MLAs could not make it because of prior engagements and they scotched rumours of discontentment.

Along with Shinde, the MLAs, their family members and staff were present when they visited Guwahati and headed to Nilachal Hills.They offered prayers at the Kamakhya Devi Temple, one of  the oldest of the 51 pithas in the Shakta tradition.

Shinde also held discussions with his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma, who during the toppling of the Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government, had sheltered the rebel MLAs.

“We are happy to be here again. The people of Guwahati have welcomed us again…we are indebted to them,” Shinde said, adding that they were there to offer prayers.

On the Opposition criticism, he said: “The Opposition (MVA) has no work left but to criticise everything…they can do it.”

The leader of the Opposition Ajit Pawar of NCP said: “It is not known who they are going to sacrifice now. But if someone is going for the almighty’s darshan, we wish them.”

However, Shinde-faction chief spokesperson and Education and Marathi Language Minister Deepak Kesarkar said: “We will sacrifice the thoughts of people which are against Maharashtra.”

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ABC Choti
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Answer # 4 #

Sources tell News18 that the first intimation of the Maharashtra plan came to Guwahati on June 14, and the MLAs had “asked to look for a suitable place where they can stay”. Finally, on June 20, the plan got materialised with the rebel MLAs demanding that they want to stay in Kaziranga because they anticipated that ‘Shivsainiks’ may reach Guwahati.

It was assured to the rebels that Guwahati is a “safe place” and “nothing will happen” to them.

On June 21, it was reported that Eknath Shinde along with over 30 MLAs were on their way to Guwahati.

Although Guwahati is not known for any huge political upheaval, but the hill town got caught in the Maharashtra crisis amidst its grave flood situation. Assam was chosen so that no ‘Shivsainik’ could not reach there.

Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport became the central point where several charter flights carrying the MLAs landed. Sources say one charter flight was always on standby.

An airport officer told News18, “Every day one or two charter flight for the rebel camp became common from June 22. We have never seen such an activity.”

Not only this, the rebel MLAs were taken out of the VVIP security gate, which is only used by the Chief Minister.

As the rebel MLAs arrived in Guwahati, they were provided with special police cars.

On June 22, the MLAs stayed in Radisson Blu, where any chief minister arriving in the state usually stays or big programmes are organised.

The logistical support of bringing rebel MLAs from the airport to the hotel was provided by the Assam BJP indirectly. Interestingly, CM Himanta Biswa Sarma was seen leaving the hotel moments before the rebels arrived.

The hotel was fortified with policemen installed, and bookings for common man were unavailable. More than 70 rooms were booked to accommodate around 100 people were there. Apart from the airline staff, other guests were not allowed to check in the hotel.

A staff member at the hotel told News18, “This is the first time such an incident has happened. We have never faced anything like this before. Now, the challenge for us to see who enters Radisson, and those who have made the prior booking are allowed.”

The first video of the Shinde camp was released on June 21 in a show of strength from the hotel.

Interestingly, two ministers of the Assam cabinet were on duty inside the hotel. State housing and urban affairs minister Ashok Singhal use to stay in the hotel during the day, and Pijush Hazarika, Parliamentary affairs minister, would be on the night shift.

As the state reeled under floods, the ministers would visit the affected areas and also maintained their duty in the hotel. Senior police officials too were inside the hotel.

Opposition parties, including Congress and Trinamool Congress protested outside the hotel by brandishing “anti-Shinde” posters in Guwahati.

When Minister Hazarika was asked what he was doing in the hotel where the rebels were staying, he told News18, “I don’t know anything about this. I was told to help them to go to Kamakhya (temple) and I did that.”

According to sources, MLAs in the Shinde camp were a “little nervous” on the first two days of arriving in Guwahati, but when their strength crossed 37, and they became confident and started celebrating.

Overall, Shinde showed “high energy” and “cool temper” while conducting the whole operation in the last eight days, said sources.

One of the rebel MLAs said, “He (Shinde) was always there beside us. We are together (for the strength) that the strength he gave us.”

In fact, all the MLAs did visit the Kamakhya temple, and donated for the flood relief. According to sources, rebel MLAs had said now they will come to Assam for holidays too.

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Italian Aguglia
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Answer # 5 #

The aim seems to have been to take the group as far away from Mumbai so that not only Uddhav's emissaries would find it difficult to reach out to the rebel MLAs, but any chance of some rebel MLAs having a second thought could be nipped in the bud.

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Fritz Juliá
Civil Engineer