'Fadnavis will never return': Opposition leaders poke fun at Dy CM

Is it mischief by his party rivals or an inadvertent error as his 'Mee Punha Yein' video goes up again and comes down as swiftly?

Maharshtra chief minister Eknath Shinde (centre) with Dy CMs Devendra Fadnavis (left) and Ajit Pawar (Photo courtesy: @CMOMaharashtra/ Twitter)
Maharshtra chief minister Eknath Shinde (centre) with Dy CMs Devendra Fadnavis (left) and Ajit Pawar (Photo courtesy: @CMOMaharashtra/ Twitter)

Sujata Anandan

Something is not quite right with the state of the Maharashtra BJP. They unnecessarily put Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to embarrasment by putting up a video and after ridicule on Marathi social media swiftly withdrawing it, making the whole fiasco even worse.

The video proclaimed Fadnavis as saying, “Mee Punha Yein” (I will return) – as chief minister of Maharashtra. But that was a refrain that Fadnavis sang over and over again in 2014 when the BJP's victory at the centre made him almost certain that he too would storm back to the chief minister’s office as Narendra Modi had done to the PMO.

But, sadly, that did not happen. Not only did the BJP get far lesser numbers in the State Assembly in 2019, despite an alliance with the Shiv Sena that had not existed during the 2014 elections but the Sena then broke from the BJP and formed the Maharashtra Vikas Agadhi with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party which went ahead to run the government for more than two years while Fadnavis languished in the wilderness.

Even after breaking up the Shiv Sena and regaining the government, Fadnavis could still not make it back to the chief minister’s office but had to be content to play the role of Eknath Shinde’s deputy.

Fadnavis is not a very loved leader even in the state BJP whose senior leaders believe he was just in the right place at the right time to become CM in 2014, having been made the state BJP president when no one else wanted that job in 2012. But once he gained office he began to cut down all his senior state party leaders to size so that he would be left with no competition.

These included Eknath Khadse to whom Fadnavis owed much for “being in the right place at the right time” but he constantly humiliated the man who was then seniormost in tegu Maharashtra BJP and should actually have been a more suitable chief minister. Khadse eventually left the BJP to join the Ncp from where he continues to needle Fadnavis and expose all the inside information on the man.

During the 2019 elections Fadnavis needlessly cut down the tickets of many of his senior ministers for the very same reason and has since also humiliated Pankaja Munde, his former minister and daughter of the late Gopinath Munde as he fears she possesses the kind of star quality that draws people to her meetings in large numbers and something he seriously lacks.

When he was on the refrain of Mee Punha Yein in 2014, he became the butt of the opposition’s jokes with former chief ministers like Ashok Chavan and Sharad Pawar stating that even when they were sure their party was winning the election and they were returning as chief ministers they had never been so arrogant as to boast about it in public.

After Fadnavis failed to make that office, the MVA lost no opportunity ridiculing him severe step of the way, even to pointing out after their government’s toppling that while the BJP was in power now, Fadnavis most certainly unreasonably anticipated his return to that office.

Now Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Vijay Waddatiwar has again poked fun at Fadnavis stating that deleting the video proves that Fadnavis knows heart of hearts he is not returning to power even in 2024. That has also caused much political damage to the state BJP which is already staring at lesser numbers in both the Lok Sabha and Assembly.

But did Fadnavis really repost that video? Sources reveal that there was some mischief against him afoot in the state BJP whose senior leaders scorned by him have been crowing with glee louder than any opposition leader who has so far mocked him.

Although the Maharashtra BJP spokespersons attempted some damage control by saying the video might have been inadvertently uploaded by some or the other party worker, that is not quite how the BJP IT cell operates, even in Maharashtra.

The general belief seems to be that someone in his own party was getting even with Fadnavis by publicly airing his failed dream once again and causing him greater embarrassment. There is clearly something certainly rotten in the state BJP, as Shakespeare would say.

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