NCP, Sena allege police being used to poach MLAs

Party leaders spot plain-clothes officers in hotel

Published - November 25, 2019 02:00 am IST - Mumbai

Ajit Pawar leaves his residence to meet Devendra Fadnavis late on Sunday.

Ajit Pawar leaves his residence to meet Devendra Fadnavis late on Sunday.

With MLAs of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Congress and Shiv Sena holed up in three different hotels under a continuous vigil, the parties on Sunday alleged that police officials in plain clothes had been spotted in one of the hotel lobbies.

The NCP released a video of its MLA Jitendra Awhad and Sena MP Shrikant Shinde confronting two police officers in plain clothes for “loitering” in the lobby of Hotel Renaissance in Powai, where NCP MLAs were staying. Late on Sunday night, they were shifted to the Grand Hyatt in Juhu.

In the video, Mr. Awhad is seen asking the two officers why they are sitting in the hotel lobby, to which they reply that they are there for a drink. “You can have a drink, that’s your personal matter. But do you always come here? Don’t you know the political situation? Are we fools to believe what you are saying?” Mr. Awhad asked, while other workers demanded the officers’ identity cards.

The Mumbai Police could not be contactedfor a comment on the incident.

NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “There have been attempts to poach our MLAs. Four of our MLAs have been kept in custody in Delhi by the BJP. We are in touch with them and I’m sure they will come back to us.”

All three parties have set up their own security circles and deployed trusted party workers outside and inside the hotels. The hotels have been chosen based on their connect with Sena trade unions to ensure any suspicious activity is brought to their notice immediately.

Mr. Awhad, Mr. Malik and Sena leaders have been entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding the MLAs. The Sena has asked its local units to be alert 24 hours, ensuring no MLA manages to escape or is taken away by force.

On Sunday morning, BJP MLA Ravindra Chavan tried to visit NCP MLAs at the Powai hotel, but had to return empty-handed. BJP leader Ashish Shelar openly claimed the party has given responsibility to four leaders to ensure these MLAs join the party. As per sources, these leaders are Narayan Rane, Babanrao Pachpute, Ganesh Naik and Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil.

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