Eknath Shinde, the chief minister of Maharashtra, declared on Saturday that he will broaden his council of ministers following talks with his deputy Devendra Fadnavis the following week. He also professed confidence that he would serve out the remainder of his term. In addition to dismissing his predecessor Uddhav Thackeray’s call for midterm elections in Maharashtra, Shinde said during a press conference that his government is strong and stable with the support of 164 MLAs, compared to the opposition’s support of only 99. Shinde was speaking during a quick tour of the national capital.
Shinde and Fadnavis met President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president J P Nadda after their arrival here on Friday evening. The two held a lengthy conversation on Friday night with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, during which it was learned that the general terms of the power-sharing agreement in the new Maharashtra administration had been decided upon.
On Saturday night, Shinde and Fadnavis departed for Pune on their way to Pandharpur, the location of the chief minister’s Ashadi Ekadashi devotion of Lord Vitthal. After Thackeray resigned as chief minister in the face of a significant Shiv Sena uprising that toppled the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi administration, Shinde and Fadnavis took office on June 30.
When asked if he was upset about his “demotion” to the position of deputy chief minister, Fadnavis said that he had just carried out his party’s instructions. “Being named chief minister by my party helped me become well-known. It is not a matter of having a big heart. The chief minister of Maharashtra from 2014 to 2019 declared, “I have carried out the instructions of my party.
“I support Shinde. Since I was the chief minister, I am aware that he or she is the leader. Shinde will be in charge of our efforts. Making this government succeed is our main objective, he continued. By removing Thackeray as chief minister, Shinde was accused of betraying the Shiv Sena, although this accusation was denied.
“We adhere to Balasaheb Thackeray’s principles. He encouraged us to fight injustice. It’s not a desertion, though. There has been a revolution. All of the MLAs have joined me freely, he said, adding that individuals like Sanjay Raut had nothing better to do than make accusations. Shinde proclaimed himself to be the “true” Shiv Sena’s leader and said that the Maharashtra Assembly’s speaker had also acknowledged his organisation in that capacity.
He said he made at least three or four attempts to get in touch with Thackeray and convince him to team up with the BJP, the Shiv Sena’s “natural ally,” but was unable in doing so.
Shinde also defended the BJP, which has frequently been accused of going to any length to win state elections.
“The BJP has 115 MLAs, and the people of Maharashtra had anticipated a BJP chief minister. BJP was sometimes said to have broken other parties in order to gain power. I have fifty MLAs. Can the BJP now be compared to the same thing? Nobody can. I have a chance to become the chief minister since I’m only a little worker,” he stated. Fadnavis claimed that the Shiv Sena’s withdrawal from their 2019 partnership with the saffron party to form the Maharashtra government with the support of the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party had angered BJP workers (NCP).
“The BJP members felt offended in 2019. Together, we had sought votes, but our ally had turned against us. The party employees are now content. When asked if the BJP cadre was demoralised by his “demotion” to deputy chief minister, Fadnavis responded, “Their sorrow has now been erased.