The area around the Guwahati hotel where Shiv Sena rebel Eknath Shinde has been staying along with fellow rebel MLAs for the past week has started resembling his Maharashtra strongholds. Billboards with supportive slogans have cropped up around the hotel amid massive security arrangements by the Assam government. The Shinde camp has extended its hotel bookings till July 5, sources said.
The rebels will move from Guwahati only if their physical presence is required anywhere, a political source in the know of the development taking place inside the hotel said. In all likelihood that can be a day ahead of, or on the day of the floor test in Maharastra. Mr Shinde has been consulting lawyers and constitutional experts but there is no clarity on a possible floor test yet, sources said.
The Shinde camp has booked 70 of the 196 rooms in the 5-star hotel where they have been extended a VVIP treatment by the Assam government although there are no official orders on many ‘privileges’, reliable government sources added.
There is a multi-layered security cover with massive security inside the hotel with central paramilitary forces, Assam police commandos, and armed personnel keeping a watch. A 24×7 medical unit comprising of doctors, male and female nurses, paramedics, and state-of-the-art ambulances from the Guwahati Medical College has also been kept ready at the hotel. A makeshift communication hub has been established inside the hotel with laptops, heavy-duty modems, and high-speed broadband internet with the help of the Electronics and IT corporation of the Assam government, reliable sources have said.
The Shinde camp celebrated the Supreme Court’s interim order, which gave them time till July 12 to file responses to the disqualification notices and also turned down a plea moved by the state government against holding a floor test till then, by ordering special sewaiyan (sweets) to be made, sources added.
Assam’s indigenous green sparkling firecrackers, used in local festivities and weddings, have been ordered. Three cartons of crackers have also been kept ready for possible ‘celebrations’ if things go their way before leaving Guwahati, sources hinted to NDTV.