BJP's masterstroke, a major twist to state's politics

BJP's masterstroke, a major twist to state's politics

NASHIK: In a surprise move, the BJP has given the post of Chief Minister to Shiv Sena rebel Eknath Shinde, in a bid to take along sena cadre and pacify the ground level workers and isolate the Thackarey family from the Shiv Sena as the rebels were claiming that they are the real outfit.

With this smart move, the BJP aimed to kill two birds with one stone. On one hand, Shinde's promotion will create confusion among Shiv Sena cadre ahead of crucial Mumbai Municipal Corporation polls and the move will also harm Sharad Pawar led NCP as BJP aimed for absolute majority in the next assembly polls and an upper hand in the general Lok Sabha elections after two years, while on the other hand, it will succeed in garnering support of grassroot shiv sainiks which may either isolate Thackeray or downsize his hold on the party.

The dramatic changes in the political equations in the state will also make a difference in the politics of Nashik. In the new government, Nashik is likely to get two or three ministerial posts. It is learned that Nashik will get two ministerial posts from Shiv Sena quota and one from BJP quota.

The new government has come to power in the state at the initiative of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Eknath Shinde has been sworn in as the Chief Minister and Devendra Fadnavis as the Deputy Chief Minister this evening and it is expacted that the cabinet expansion will take place soon.

Nashik is likely to get three ministerial posts in the Shinde led government. There is talk of having one cabinet minister and two ministers of state.

At present, on behalf of BJP's Devendra Fadnavis who has joined the new government at the request of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief J P Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah, there are local MLAs in the race for ministerial berth from Nashik. They are MLA of Central Nashik Devyani Pharande, MLA of Nashik West Seema Hiray, MLA of Deola constituency Dr. Rahul Aher and MLA of Nashik East Division Rahul Dhikale.

On the other hand, on behalf of Shiv Sena, the names of former Malegaon Dabhadi Agriculture Minister Dada Bhuse and Nandgaon MLA Suhas Kande are also being discussed. The BJP’s strategy is to replace the Shiv Sena with the rebels at the helm and it will lead to frustration in the Sena camp and will eventually result in two factions in the Sena itself. The Shinde faction has argued in the Supreme Court that they have not left Shiv Sena.

Shinde who rose to ranks from Thane, was the protege of Anand Dighe and is a firebrand leader and has tight grip over the Thane region and is the first Sena leader who has got the Chief Minister’s post after leaving the party. Earlier, Chhagan Bhujbal, Ganesh Naik and Narayan Rane left Sena for the CM’s post but could not get it and are in different parties including BJP.

Interestingly, on Thursday morning, Sanjay Raut had asked Shinde, “will you get the Chief Minister’s chair? It could have only happened in Shiv Sena.” But now the BJP has moved in a manner to pacify the Sena cadre on the ground which could have been very aggressive and the conflict would have started with the BJP. Earlier, it was considered to be a foregone conclusion that Fadnavis will become the CM for the third time, in alliance with the Shinde-led Sena rebels.

The BJP’s decision not to take the top post comes as a counter to Sena president Uddhav Thackeray’s question if the rebel MLAs would ensure that a Shiv Sena worker would be the next chief minister. He was ready to quit if the Shinde faction could ensure that a `Shiv Sainik’ would be the next chief minister, Thackeray had said while battling the rebellion by majority of party MLAs which began more than a week ago.

Eknath Shinde new Maharashtra CM

MUMBAI: Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde was on Thursday sworn in as Maharashtra chief minister, while the BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis took oath as deputy chief minister.

Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered the oath of office to them at Raj Bhavan in south Mumbai shortly after 7.30 pm.

Shinde began by paying tributes to late Shiv Sena leaders Bal Thackeray and Anand Dighe. His supporters shouted slogans hailing Thackeray and Dighe as he finished taking the oath.

“This is the victory of the ideology of Balasaheb Thackeray and ‘Dharmaveer’ Anand Dighe. Our government will work in the interest of the general people and for the development of the state,” Shinde said after taking oath. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Eknath Shinde and Fadnavis on being sworn-in as the chief minister and deputy chief minister respectively.

“I would like to congratulate Shri @mieknathshinde Ji on taking oath as Maharashtra CM. A grassroots level leader, he brings with him rich political, legislative and administrative experience. I am confident that he will work towards taking Maharashtra to greater heights,” he tweeted.

“Congratulations to Shri @Dev_Fadnavis Ji on taking oath as Maharashtra Deputy CM. He is an inspiration for every BJP Karyakarta. His experience and expertise will be an asset for the Government. I am certain he will further strengthen Maharashtra’s growth trajectory,” the prime minister tweeted.

Shinde’s name was announced by Fadnavis at the press conference after they met Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari to stake claim for government formation. The BJP leader had declared he won’t be a part of the government. However, there came a twist after BJP president JP Nadda said the central leadership had asked Fadnavis to join the government as the deputy chief minister. Minutes later, union home minister Amit Shah tweeted that Fadnavis would be joining the Eknath Shinde government.

Shinde, who served as the urban development minister in the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi government, rebelled against Shiv Sena boss and then chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. He along with 39 other Sena MLAs camped at a hotel in Guwahati and later in Goa, reducing the Aghadi government to a minority.

After the Supreme Court refused to put a stay on the governor’s decision to hold a floor test on Thursday, Thackeray resigned from his post last Wednesday night after announcing his decision to step down during his Facebook live address.

Earlier on Thursday, BJP president J P Nadda said Fadnavis would be part of the new Maharashtra cabinet led by Shinde, minutes after Fadnavis announced he will not be in the government.

Fadnavis had sprang a surprise when he announced that Shinde will be the next chief minister. His announcement defied expectations that he would return to the post with the support of the Shinde faction.

“Development of the state is my priority. I will take all sections of society along with me,” Shinde told the media after the ceremony.

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