The marathon Supreme Court proceedings in the petition challenging the floor test ordered by the Maharashtra Governor on Thursday may have eventually failed to elicit the desired results for the Shiv Sena but it did have an impact -- it turned the promised Goa sojourn for the rebel Shiv Sena camp into a damp night-halt squib.
The Eknath Shinde led rebels were expected to arrive in Goa around mid-day on Wednesday. Goa was chosen because it is BJP-ruled and more importantly just a hour’s flight away from ground zero of the floor test -- Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in Mumbai.
But minutes after the Shinde-led rebels left their safe haven in Guwahati’s Radisson Blu hotel for a temple to seek blessings before boarding a flight to Goa came the news that the Supreme Court had fixed for 5 pm the petition filed by Shiv Sena’s chief whip, Sunil Prabhu, challenging the Governor’s floor test order.
So, instead of flying to the much sought after destination of Goa, the entourage of rebel Shiv Sena MLAs headed back to Guwahati’s Radisson Blu after their temple darshan.
In Goa meanwhile, heavy police deployment was seen at the Patradevi road link with Maharashtra since afternoon. All arrangements were also readied in a five-star hotel on the outskirts of the the BJP-ruled State’s capital at Dona Paula.
The rebel MLAs finally arrived at the Dabolim airport around 9.45 pm by a regular Spicejet flight and were driven to the hotel thereafter, by which time Maharashtra Chief Minister Udhav Thackeray had quit following the Supreme Court verdict which came around 9 pm upholding the Governor’s order for a floor test on Thursday.