In a drama that unfolded after senior leader Eknath Shinde staged a massive rebellion and virtually spirited away 30-odd party MLAs to Surat in BJP-ruled Gujarat, two Shiv Sena MLAs — who had been allegedly “kidnapped” by the rebel camp — returned to Maharashtra on Wednesday, less than 36 hours after they were taken away by the rebel camp members.
On their return, the two Sena MLAs — Nitin Deshmukh from Akola and Kailas Patil from Osmanabad — said they were “misled and taken to Surat against their wishes” by the rebels group late on Monday, but they succeeded in escaping from the watchful eyes of those managing the rebel Shinde camp.
Both Patil and Deshmukh said that they were much with Chief Minister and Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and that there was no question of their indulging in rebellion or joining the rebel faction led by Eknath Shinde.
Recounting the ordeal he faced and sensational escape that he made from the rebel Shinde camp, Deshmukh claimed he was “kidnapped” from Mumbai and then taken to Surat along with other rebel Sena MLAs who landed at Le Meridien Hotel at Surat on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday.
Talking to the media in Nagpur where he landed after his dramatic escape from the Shinde-led Sena rebel camp, Deshmukh recalled: “Around 3 am on Tuesday, I managed to escape from the hotel. I went out of the hotel to hitch a ride from some passing vehicles. I was pursued by 100-odd Gujarat policemen who prevented me from sitting in any vehicle and they forcibly took me to some hospital”.
“At the hospital, the doctors performed some medical procedure on my body, tried to prove that I had ‘suffered a heart attack’ and gave him some injection, though I was perfectly healthy,” he said.
“They treated me like some terrorist… Somehow I managed to flee from the hospital and here I am — absolutely fit and fine. I have no heart issues as the police contended,” Deshmukh said.
Earlier, Deshmukh’s wife had lodged a missing complaint with the police that she suspected threats to his life as he was not available on phone after 7 pm on Monday.
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2 MLAs run away from Shinde’s Surat camp, 1
recounts heroic escape
Recounting his story of his escape from the Sena rebel camp, the second MLA Kailas Patil said that when he was being taken to Surat along with a group of Sena rebel MLAs purportedly for a party being hosted at Thane, he sensed that there was something wrong as the vehicle changed route and headed towards Gujarat from the Ghodbunder Road in Mira Road.
“Under the pretext of relieving myself, I managed to get down at Talasari near the Maharashtra-Gujarat border Police Check Post at that late hour, before entering the BJP-ruled Gujarat. I started walking briskly for around five kilometers towards Mumbai and then managed to hitch a bike ride towards Mumbai,” Patil said.
“En route, I called up Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and briefed him about the impending rebellion and political crisis triggered by Shinde and others. I finally reached Uddhav Thackeray’s ‘Matoshri’ at Bandra from where I was taken to a safe house. I am at the safe house ever since then,” Patil recalled.