New Maharashtra CM, deputy CM Fadnavis hold their first cabinet meeting
Geetanjali Minhas | July 1, 2022 | Mumbai
Former Maharashtra chief minister Davendra Fadnavis stunned all at a press conference Thursday and named Eknath Shinde, the rebel MLA from Shiv Sena, as the next chief minister. Though Fadnavis said he would stay out of the government, a few hours later the BJP leadership announced he would be the deputy chief minister.
“BJP’s central leadership has decided that Devendra Fadnavis should become a part of the government. So, we made a personal request to him and the central leadership has said that Fadnvais should take charge as deputy CM of Maharashtra,” BJP national president JP Nadda announced.
Later, at 7.30 pm, Shinde took the oath as chief minister and Fadnavis took the oath as deputy chief minister. Immediately after the swearing-in ceremony, Shinde replaced his profile picture on his Twitter handle with that of Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray, sending out the message of positioning himself as the heir to the Hindutva and Maratha icon.
Two and half years after the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) came to power, it fell this week after the rebellion led by Eknath Shambhaji Shinde, who has taken control of Maharashtra with the BJP’s support. This development has ignited a fight to claim the legacy of Shiv Sena. The Shinde faction has declared in the Supreme Court that it is the real Sena. He has claimed that Uddhav Thackeray by forming an “unnatural alliance” with the NCP and the Congress has diluted the Hindutva ideology of Bal Thackeray.
At the press conference, Shinde said that the decision taken by him and other MLAs is to stay committed to Balasaheb's Hindutva and for the development work in their constituencies.
“We have 50 MLAs with us,” Shinde said. Thanking prime minister Narendra Modi, Fadnavis and other BJP leaders, he said, “It is their magnanimity. They had a bigger mandate; yet they made me the chief minister. Who does that?”
The Shinde camp has been saying that it was ideology and not expectations of plum postings with cabinet portfolios that led them to break off from the Thackerays and go with BJP.
Immediately after the oath-taking ceremony, in their first cabinet meeting, Shinde and Fadnavis overturned the Thackeray government’s decision of moving Metro 3 car shed out of Aarey in Mumbai. Fadnavis asked the bureaucrats if the courts could be apprised through the advocate general that the car shed could be built at Aarey itself. The move was seconded by Shinde. Fadnavis directed the urban development department officials to bring a proposal for building the car shed at Aarey before the cabinet.
Fadnavis also said that the 33-km underground Metro project between Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ was stuck because of a legal wrangle over the Kanjurmarg plot where the MVA government had proposed to build the car shed.
A special session of the state assembly will be held on July 2-3 and the election for the post of the speaker – lying vacant since Nana Patole’s resignation – will be completed.
Earlier in the day, in an interview to a TV channel, Yuva Sena president Aditya Thackeray said his father, Uddhav Thackeray, was betrayed by his own people. “We did have an idea about a couple of people’s ambitions and they were also offered the posts they wanted a month before this drama started. The person who started the rebellion (Shinde) was given a department that no CM has parted with in the last 33 years.
“My father is not hungry for power. He walked out of Varsha (the CM residence) the moment the banner of rebellion was raised. He is dignified, graceful, clean and loyal to his words. The traitors took advantage of the situation when the chief minister had a medical surgery and in isolation.”
Aditya said that his father did not physically meet anyone for a one and half month starting from November because he underwent two surgeries. However, he added that there was not even a single party meeting that he missed and made use of technology to continue his work.
Asked about BJP and Shinde’s claims of deviating from the basic ideology of Hindutva as being an important reason for the faction breaking away, Aditya said, “Their idea of Hindutva is very different from Balasaheb Thackeray’s or the party president’s idea of it.”
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