Shiv Sena, rebel leader Eknath Shinde, came as a surprise to become Maharashtra’s 20th Chief Minister on Thursday when his faction teamed up with “natural ally” BJP to overthrow the 31-month-old government of Uddhav Thackeray.
BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis, who was largely expected to take the top job, was sworn in as deputy chief minister for just three hours, just three hours after saying he will “stay out of government and make sure it runs smoothly.” “.
Devendra Fadnavis showed a “big heart” and the decision reflects his true devotion and service to Maharashtra, Interior Minister Amit Shah said, announcing that Mr Shinde will have the full support of BJP.
Eknath Shinde thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr Fadnavis and other BJP leaders. ‘It is their magnanimity. They had a bigger mandate, but still they made me prime minister. Who does that?’ he said.
Mr Fadnavis could not have accepted the number two position “luckily”, veteran politician Sharad Pawar, who heads the Nationalist Congress Party, which was part of Uddhav Thackeray’s government, told ANI news agency.
Shinde, 58, was sworn in at the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai less than 24 hours after Uddhav Thackeray stepped down as chief minister of the 31-month-old government of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA).
Uddhav Thackeray’s resignation on Wednesday came days after Mr Shinde led an uprising involving at least 39 Shiv Sena MLAs, alleging that Mr Thackeray ignored Shiv Sena’s demand that the alliance with Congress and the NCP be terminated .
“Shiv Sena chose to form an alliance with those Balasaheb has protested against all his life. Shiv Sena insulted the people’s mandate,” Fadnavis said.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance was “corrupt” and two ministers of that government are in prison on charges of corruption and money laundering, the BJP leader said. Shiv Sena MLAs had trouble in their constituencies because the MVA allies hurt their prospects, he added.
The Shinde camp insists it is now the Shiv Sena as Uddhav Thackeray is outnumbered in the party. “It’s not about who the real Shiv Sena is. We have the legal majority and so ours is the legislative party,” he said.
Mr Shinde, who was a senior minister in Thackeray’s government, has said that he made the decision (to revolt against the MVA government) with the support of 50 MLAs for the development of the state and “there was no personal interest involved”. If 50 MLAs make a decision, it calls for introspection, he said, without mentioning Uddhav Thackeray.