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Uddhav Resigns, Maharashtra BJP Finally Celebrates: But Will Fadnavis Be CM & What Rewards Await Shinde?

News18 logo News18 30-06-2022 Pragya Kaushika
Uddhav Resigns, Maharashtra BJP Finally Celebrates: But Will Fadnavis Be CM & What Rewards Await Shinde? © Provided by News18 Uddhav Resigns, Maharashtra BJP Finally Celebrates: But Will Fadnavis Be CM & What Rewards Await Shinde?

With the resignation of Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, the celebrations have begun in the Bharatiya Janata Party camp. While the party has deliberately kept itself away from being seen as actively participating in aiding the unseating of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, the merrymaking tells another tale.

With the fall of the government, talks between Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena rebel minister Eknath Shinde are expected to be finalised on Thursday. According to party sources, the oath-taking ceremony date has been decided.

Fadnavis back as CM?

Ever since the Eknath Shinde faction rebelled, former BJP chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’s residence in Mumbai’s Malabar Hills had become a nerve centre for the party’s top leaders, regional party MLAs, and independents to meet and strategise.

The Congress had alleged that it is his residence that is the “back-end office” for the Shinde camp.

In the past eight days, Fadnavis came to meet the party’s top brass at least twice.

Also, the BJP is the single-largest party in Maharashtra and there is a long time to go before assembly polls.

Sources said that Fadnavis wanted the Shinde group to establish two-thirds of the Sena’s strength in the assembly so that the anti-defection law wouldn’t spoil their plans.

Meticulously implemented through disgruntled Shiv Sena MLAs, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s strategy worked and patience paid off, said sources. Party leaders believe that Fadnavis has worked hard to ensure that the BJP won’t lose the chance to form the government this time.

The BJP had to face embarrassment when Ajit Pawar within hours of taking oath as deputy chief minister pulled out of the government, and the Shiv Sena, Congress, and NCP joined hands to take power. The BJP waited to ensure that Shinde had the required number of MLAs to prevent disqualification.

Eknath Shinde’s role in new govt

It is a given, say sources, that Shinde is going to be handsomely rewarded for successfully staging the coup and not falling into the trap of the Thackerays when they asked the rebels to “come home to the family”.

According to the sources, he is likely to be made deputy CM and get important portfolios like PWD. Shinde is expected to get many departments for his colleagues who left ministerial posts to aid him in his fight against the Thackerays.

Is a merger likely?

While the Thackeray camp has been spreading reports of the Shinde faction merging with the BJP, the other two have denied the possibility.

Senior leaders in the BJP say Eknath Shinde and his followers maintain they are Balasaheb Thackeray’s Shiv Sainiks.

The Shinde camp has stated in court that it is the original Shiv Sena as two-thirds of the party MLAs are supporting it.

As Sena has its own brand of fanatic supporters who would not accept the decimation of the party to the extent that it ceases to exist, the Eknath Shinde group will keep giving the Thackerays nightmares by challenging their authority as the Shiv Sena, say sources.

This would also mean that the Thackerays will struggle to keep their flock together and house in order if they don’t want to lose Balasaheb’s legacy.

Eyes on BMC?

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is considered the lifeline of the Shiv Sena. It is here at Asia’s richest municipal corporation that the party wants to maintain its hold. With a budget equivalent to that of a small state or union territory, the party having clout in the BMC rules Mumbai.

Aaditya Thackeray has stated that attempts to topple the MVA government had been made to usurp the civic body.

“BJP has eyes on BMC,” was the first line that he said when he addressed party workers at Lala College in Mumbai on Saturday.

The new government is likely to be sworn in within a day or two. And with elections pending in other corporations as well, the BJP hopes to diminish any power that any other political party has in any part of the state. Assembly elections are due in two and a half years.

Better coordination and understanding on Hindutva agenda

The Shinde camp had targeted Uddhav for “compromising” on Balasaheb’s Hindutva by shaking hands with the Congress and NCP. With the BJP too taking a strong stand against “appeasement”, senior leaders in the saffron party believe that both will work well together.

“Shinde has been on good terms with Fadnavis. We hope it remains the same and there will be no trouble in an alliance,” stated a BJP leader.

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