With hotel rooms costing Rs 56 lakh to charter planes for Rs 50 lakh, it looks like Eknath Shinde is sparing no expense to keep his followers comfortable as Maharashtra’s political crisis unfolds.
Shiv Sena breakaway leader Eknath Shinde with his supporters at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Guwahati. PTI
Maharashtra’s political crisis has spread to three states – Maharashtra, Gujarat and Assam – MPs have been evicted and accommodated in various hotels over the past few days.
It was costly for Eknath Shinde to smuggle his supporting MPs out of Maharashtra to Guwahati in a bid to break with the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition. As of today, Shinde, who officially has the support of 37 MPs but says more will join them, is staying at the luxury Radisson Blu hotel on National Road 37 on the outskirts of Assam’s capital.
Assamese | Maharashtra Shiv Sena MLA Dadaji Bhuse, MLA Sanjay Rathod and MLC Ravindra Phatak with Eknath Shinde at Radisson Blu Hotel in Guwahati.
According to the sources, more than 37 Shiv Sena MPs are present along with Eknath Shinde here. pic.twitter.com/4HcsHlVEaw
— ANI (@ANI) June 23, 2022
Here’s a look at the spending involved in the crisis – from private jets to hotel rooms to luxury buses.
Also Read: Could Uddhav Thackeray Have Prevented Maharashtra’s Political Crisis? Here’s what we know so far
From Maharashtra to Gujarat
The whole drama started on Tuesday when Eknath Shinde became ‘unavailable’ and with his splinter group traveled to Surat in Gujarat ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
According to reports, Shinde had chartered a private SpiceJet plane to fly his MPs to Gujarat.
In Surat, MPs have been accommodated at Le Meridien hotel – where the cost of rooms starts at Rs 2,300 per night.
— ANI (@ANI) June 22, 2022
Flight to Guwahati
A few hours in Surat, and Eknath Shinde’s camp then traveled in the wee hours of Wednesday to Guwahati, Assam.
#LOOK | Gujarat: Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde along with 34 party MPs and 7 independent MPs, who were staying at Le Meridien Hotel in Surat, reach Surat International Airport to depart for Guwahati, Assam. pic.twitter.com/YtWVJEo88n
— ANI (@ANI) June 21, 2022
MPs owing their allegiance to Shinde were flown to Guwahati in a chartered flight – not a cheap deal.
A review of charter flight data shows that the cost of an Embraer ERJ-135LR aircraft, which can carry more than 30 people, is over Rs 50 lakh for a trip from Surat to Guwahati. Two other smaller business jets have flown to Guwahati since the start of the political crisis in Maharashtra.
According to industry insiders, the cost of renting smaller planes is around Rs 35 lakh.
After landing in Guwahati, the MPs were then taken to the five-star Radisson Blu hotel, which has a total of 196 hotel rooms.
Sources said NDTV that Eknath Shinde Camp has now booked 70 rooms at the facility for a period of seven days. This means that the cost of rooms alone at the hotel is around Rs 56 lakh.
Furthermore, it is estimated that Rs 8 lakh is spent on food and other services daily, bringing the total cost of seven days to Rs 1.12 crore.
NDTV also reported that the Radisson Blu is no longer taking reservations and has also closed its banquet hall as well as its restaurant to foreigners.
In a show of force, Shinde released photos and videos with 41 hotel MPs on Thursday, causing more trouble for Chief Minister and Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray. Footage shows MPs gathered in a room for a photo op, holding up slogans for Shiv Sena, Balasaheb Thackeray and Eknath Shinde, not mentioning Uddhav Thackeray.
Although we don’t know what the future holds, we can certainly say that this crisis has been a costly affair and we wonder who has borne the costs of this whole situation.
With contributions from agencies
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