Has Eknath Shinde been asked to resign? Fadnavis has a different story to tell
Informed sources say Devendra Fadnavis's visit to the CM house was meant to give an impression to restless BJP MLAs that the he (Fadnavis) had gone there to discuss a cabinet expansion with Shinde
The dust simply does not seem to settle on the political turmoil in Maharashtra. The rumours of Eknath Shinde having been asked to vacate the chief minister post are floating since Friday night.
Aaditya Thackeray, Shiv Sena (UBT) legislator and the son of former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, has claimed that Shinde has been asked to go. What's cooking in Maharashtra's inner political circles is no less than khichdi.
A week after the induction of Ajit Pawar and other 'rebel' members of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) into the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena-BJP government in the state, it was the turn of legislators belonging to the BJP to express their ire against precious cabinet berths being given away to the NCP.
For months now, Shinde's men had been demanding those berths and soon after the NCP split, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray wasted no time in mocking and taunting the so-called ’traitors’ who had stabbed his father in the back. “They wanted cabinet berths but saw them snatched away from under their noses!” he crowed.
Now the BJP legislators feel similarly hard done and hence, deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis was compelled to pacify them with a few platitudes and promises of rewards in the future, at a late-night dinner meeting at a club in South Mumbai on Friday.
Sources told National Herald that the upset legislators asked Fadnavis why the BJP had to crowd its own ranks by weaning away legislators from other parties whose loyalties to their ideology would always be questionable.
Fadnavis is reported to have replied “We are not weaning them away. They are attracted to (Narendra) Modi’s policies and approaching us.”
That did not convince the legislators. So, Fadnavis reluctantly admitted, “Some things have to be done to weaken the Opposition and so this step was necessary. But, there will be a cabinet expansion soon and many of you will be adjusted.”
That somehow has still not quelled the unrest among his legislators but the admission that they needed to break opposition unity is a dead giveaway that the BJP is facing an uphill task against the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in Maharashtra. Sources said the BJP MLAs believe Opposition unity continues as strong as before and it is they who could be the losers in both the short and long run.
Meanwhile, Fadnavis called on Shinde at his official residence soon after the meeting, fuelling speculation that the latter had been asked to resign as chief minister.
Aaditya Thackeray’s mockery of Shinde is fuelling that speculation but informed sources say Devendra Fadnavis's visit to the CM house was meant to give an impression to restless BJP MLAs that the he (Fadnavis) had gone there to discuss a cabinet expansion with Eknath Shinde.
Shinde, Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar travelled to Gadchiroli, the Naxal district of Maharashtra for an event where they were present together, thus scotching rumours of Shinde’s resignation which is not happening just yet.
Published: 08 Jul 2023, 8:45 PM