Just chartered plane fare at least Rs 50 lakh: Eknath Shinde’s ‘operation’ a costly affair

A charter plane, three luxury buses, a hotel about a kilometer from the airport – it was costly for Iknath Shendi to drive rebellious MLAs out of Maharashtra to try and break Shiv Sena away from Governor Maha Vikas, Agadi’s coalition with Congress and the NCP.

The drama began on Tuesday and the following night when Minister Eknath Shinde left Maharashtra with a herd of rebel MLA army, including independents, and traveled to Surat in the BJP-ruled Gujarat state. As night fell, a SpiceJet chartered jet was ready at the airport. About 30 minutes after midnight, three luxury buses stopped at the hotel to take Shendi and MLAs to the airport and then to Guwahati.

A charter flight from Surat to Guwahati is not a cheap matter. Most charter services, such as Jet Set Go, peg the cost of an Embraer ERJ-135LR which is capable of carrying more than 30 people over 50 lakh rupees for a flight from Surat to Guwahati. Added to this is the cost of hotels and other transportation arrangements, along with other expenses that may not be known yet.

Eknath Shinde and his 40 MLAs, including the independents he camped with, demanded Shiv Sena sever his alliance with Congress and the NCP, saying that the party leaders had suffered the most in the past two and a half years. Because of the coalition rule. Some of the rebels said that Sena should link up with the BJP’s “natural ally” to form a new government. MLAs have booked the hotel in Guwahati for a week, which indicates they are ready for the long haul.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena said it would consider exiting the ruling Maharashtra coalition but only if the rebels returned “within 24 hours”. “We are ready to get out of the Maharashtra government (Maha Vikas Agadi), but the party rebels must return to Mumbai (from Guwahati) within 24 hours,” said Sanjay Raut, a spokesman for Shiv Sena.

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