In an evening marked with several twists and turns, the Maharashtra government formation on Thursday witnessed several last-minute surprise announcements that led to rebel Shiv Sena MLA Eknath Shinde’s swearing in as the Chief Minister and Devendra Fadnavis taking oath as his deputy. A day after former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had resigned, it was a foregone conclusion among many that Fadnavis would be named as the next Chief Minister of Maharashtra. However, that was not to be. Here are the top highlights from a dramatic evening that marked a new chapter in Maharashtra’s political history.
Eknath Shinde’s solo trip to Mumbai – leaving the 50 rebel MLAs behind at a Goa hotel, Shinde reached Mumbai on his own. According to reports, Shinde’s move was along expected lines as he was slated to go to the Raj Bhavan along with Devendra Fadnavis to stake claim to form the government. After landing in Mumbai, Shinde went straight to Fadnavis’ residence and from there, they left for the Governor’s House.
Won’t take any ministerial post, says Fadnavis – Soon after staking claim to form the government, Fadnavis and Shinde addressed the media in a joint press conference. While addressing the media at 5 pm, Fadnavis announced that Shinde would be the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra, while adding that he will not play any role in the new government and will continue to support it from outside. Fadnavis also added that the newly formed state cabinet will have ministers from both BJP and Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena camp. Shinde, while thanking Fadnavis, said that he will not betray Fadnavis’ trust after being named CM-designate. Fadnavis also added that only Shinde will be sworn in on Thursday.
BJP chief JP Nadda adds new twist to the tale – An hour before the 7:30 pm swearing-in ceremony JP Nadda made a public announcement where he stated the BJP central leadership has directed Fadnavis to be the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
Third chair for Fadnavis added for swearing-in ceremony – Soon after Nadda made the announcement, Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted that Fadnavis had accepted to be part of the Maharashtra government, Fadnavis, minutes before the oath-taking ceremony, tweeted, “I will follow the orders of the party.”
A reluctant Deputy CM? – After the swearing-in ceremony, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar said that it was evident from Fadnavis’ body language that he was not happy with the decision. Pawar said that the BJP’s move to make Eknath Shinde as the CM was indeed ‘shocking.’