Mumbai: Other Shiv Sena dissidents, imprisoned in a resort in Goa, shouted in celebration as the BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis threw the mother of all curveballs by appointing Eknath Shinde as the future chief minister of Maharashtra.
While observing the news briefing on a huge screen, the MLAs could be seen dancing in what appeared to be a banquet hall.Some even managed to climb up tables.
Expectations that Mr. Fadnavis would retake office as chief minister with the backing of the Shinde camp were disappointed by his decision.
After meeting with Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari alongside Mr. Shinde, Mr. Fadnavis stated at a press conference at Raj Bhavan premises that Mr. Shinde alone will take oath of office at 7:30 pm, and cabinet enlargement will take place afterwards.
“I will not betray the faith Fadnavis has placed in me,” Mr Shinde told the media.
The BJP will extend support to Mr Shinde’s group, said Mr Fadnavis, a former Chief Minister and currently leader of opposition in the Assembly. BJP is the single largest party in the legislature.
“I will be out of government but will ensure smooth functioning of the government which is coming as an alternative after Uddhav Thackeray resigned,” Mr Fadnavis said.
The Sena rebels as well as BJP MLAs and some independents will be sworn in as ministers during the expansion, he added.
This was not a battle for power but for principles and Hindutva ideology, he said, adding that the BJP was against imposing elections on the state at this juncture.
There was unrest in the Shiv Sena ranks as alliance with Congress and NCP was insult of the mandate of the 2019 Assembly polls when Sena and BJP had fought the polls together, he said.
“Uddhav Thackeray aligned with parties (Congress and NCP) whom (Sena founder) Bal Thackeray opposed all his life,” Fadnavis claimed.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance was “corrupt” and two ministers of that government are in jail for corruption and money laundering charges, the BJP leader said.
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