Highlights

  • 2 NCP leaders were arrested from Goa resort where Shiv Sena rebels were housed
  • NCP leaders included Sonia Doohan who "rescued" MLAs in 2019
  • Doohan claimed to have sneaked out 4 NCP MLAs from hotel during Ajit Pawar's rebellion

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Goa resort drama: 'fake IDs' used to repeat 2019 'rescue' by NCP leaders? | Shiv Sena rebellion

Two NCP leaders arrested from Goa resort included Sonia Doohan who claimed to have "rescued" 4 NCP MLAs from a Gurugram hotel during Ajit Pawar's 'rebellion' in 2019.

A political crisis, with a filmy twist? When the Shiv Sena rebellion was underway, did some NCP leaders try to secretly enter their hotel to get in touch the MLAs? Was it an attempt to repeat what had happened in 2019 - when some NCP MLAs had been "rescued" from a hotel in BJP-ruled Haryana?

In both cases, it was this NCP leader - Sonia Doohan - who was at the centre of the action. In the latest incident, two NCP leaders were arrested from a Goa resort on July 2. It was the Taj Resort in Convention Centre in Goa where the rebel Sena MLAs were staying. NCP's Sonia Doohan, and Shray Kothiyal had tried to check into the hotel, but were arrested after being accused of using fake IDs. The two politicians were granted bail on 3 July.

The rebel MLAs had been tipped-off that a woman at the resort was asking about them, according to news reports quoting sources. The incident was compared to another episode two and a half years ago, when some NCP MLAs sneaked out of a hotel during the short-lived alliance between Ajit Pawar and BJP's Devendra Fadnavis.

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In November 2019, Sonia Doohan had claimed to have "rescued" 4 NCP MLAs. This transpired when Ajit Pawar had apparently rebelled against uncle Sharad Pawar and allied with the BJP to form the government after elections threw up a split verdict.

Five NCP legislators had been taken to BJP-ruled Haryana, and housed on the fifth floor of a hotel in Gurugram. Sonia Doohan claimed that she booked rooms on all floors of the hotel, except the fifth floor. NCP claimed that heavy security had been deployed at the hotel to keep the MLAs trapped.

Doohan said that in order to free the MLAs, she mapped a route inside the hotel which would not have CCTV cameras. Subsequently, one NCP MLA was taken out of the back gate which was linked to another hotel. When two more were being taken out, uproar broke out.

Doohan said that she had to leave her own car at the hotel, and take another vehicle to drive the 2 MLAs to Sharad Pawar's house in Delhi. Then, the fourth MLA was "rescued" at 2:30 at night.

So, who is Sonia Doohan, the protagonist in these escapades? She is the national president of the student wing of the Nationalist Congress Party.

She hails from Petwar village in Haryana's Hisar, and her family is engaged in farming. She studied at a village school, before graduating from Kurukshetra University. Doohan also trained to be a pilot in Pune, which is when she got involved in student politics.

After the latest incident, Doohan has claimed that police, Black Cat commandos, and political party workers detained her from the Goa resort at 5:30 am on July 2.

The NCP has come to Sonia Doohan's defence, claiming that their two leaders had gone to Goa as tourists, and not politicians. The party said that Goa's BJP government was keeping an eye on Doohan due to the 2019 episode, and the duo checked into the resort using Shray Kothiyal's ID. Also, Sonia Doohan used Shray's wife's ID, and not a fake document, NCP said.

The incident shows that although the Maharashtra political crisis dominated headlines for days, it was the tip of the iceberg as even more drama was playing out in the background.

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Goa resort drama: 'fake IDs' used to repeat 2019 'rescue' by NCP leaders? | Shiv Sena rebellion

Goa resort drama: 'fake IDs' used to repeat 2019 'rescue' by NCP leaders? | Shiv Sena rebellion

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