While Shiv Sena members are well-known for carrying out their political leaders’ orders on Mumbai’s streets, the present crisis, which Eknath Shinde started, has caught many of the party’s street enforcers off guard as they clash with fellow party members.
One such incident occurred on Tuesday night in the wake of rumours that Gulabrao Patil, the minister of water supply and sanitation who was not among the first groups of MLAs to accompany Shinde to Surat, had vanished.
With orders from the high brass that Patil be located at all costs, a Sena leader phoned his workers from south Mumbai.
The Shakha Pramukh Pandurang Sakpal-led Sainiks from south Mumbai jumped into action and conducted a large search throughout the night, but they weren’t able to find Patil until Wednesday morning outside his home at Nariman Point near Mantralaya.
“We received a call at 11 o’clock telling us to look for Patil. We searched wherever we could, including the St. Regis in Lower Parel, but were unsuccessful in finding him, so we made the early decision to set up camp close to his official residence. On Wednesday, around 8.30 am, we were able to contact him, according to a party employee.
Sakpal instructed the Jalgaon MLA to phone Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who has been attempting to reach the minister since Tuesday night, as soon as he saw him.
According to sources within the party, Patil led the Sena workers astray by claiming to have spoken to their leader. He has work to do in Mantralaya, and after that, according to what we were told, he’ll proceed to Varsha residence to meet the chief minister.
Instead of going to Varsha, Patil entered Mantralaya and then made his getaway in a car. He escaped while we were waiting for him outside the Secretariat, according to a source, whose official vehicle is still inside Mantralaya.
“Patil took the Eastern Express Highway in the direction of Chembur… Our Sainiks pursued him as well, but he disappeared,” a party employee claimed.
He vanished from Chembur, the source continued. Near Chembur, where he was transported to the airport, we think earlier plans had been made.
Later, in Guwahati, Patil was spotted with other rebel Sena MLAs. “Patil promised me he is coming with us, but he had made up his mind, so he kept us in the dark and fled,” Sakpal stated when reached.
While this is going on, the Shiv Sena has requested key party figures and local shakha pramukhs in Mumbai to keep a watch on all of the MLAs who are still in Mumbai. However, many of these MLAs now feel uneasy as a result of this. One MLA who is currently supporting Thackeray informed The Indian Express that the Sainiks were harassing him.