Thursday, July 25, 2024

Maharashtra news: Does Ajit Pawar’s rise in NDA cast doubt on Eknath Shinde’s position as CM?

Ajit Pawar’s rise in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) with the backing of at least 36 other Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLAs with eight of them joining the Maharashtra government may have put Eknath Shinde in an unpleasant situation. Ajit Pawar joining the Maharashtra government not only alters the power dynamics in the Maharashtra government but also ends the exclusive alliance the Shiv Sena enjoyed with the BJP, ultimately holding the reins of the state.

Eknath Shinde himself had pulled down the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government with the help of his 40 MLAs in the past, citing the Shiv Sena’s alliance with the NCP. Eknath Shinde orchestrated the coup back in 2022 with the support of 40 MLAs, plunging the Shiv Sena into a crisis that resulted in the downfall of the MVA government.

Eknath Shinde’s defection, with 40 Shiv Sena MLAs, pushed the numbers against the coalition and cleared the path for the formation of the BJP-led alliance government.

A year later, it is now Ajit Pawar who has led the same mutiny, while making sure Sharad Pawar, an astute politician, doesn’t get a whiff of the broiling rebellion.

With Ajit Pawar switching sides with the claimed support of at least 36 MLAs, the BJP doesn’t have to solely depend on the Eknath Shinde faction to stay at the helm of the power in Maharashtra. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 105 MLAs in the Maharashtra Assembly and the support of 10 Independents.

The developments also put in question Eknath Shinde’s ethics concerning the newly formed alliance since his rebellion was based on the Shiv Sena’s “unnatural” alliance with the NCP and the Congress “goons”. As he camped in Guwahati with his supporters, Eknath Shinde relentlessly criticised Uddhav Thackeray, accusing him of betraying the very ideology upon which Shiv Sena was founded.

“Imperative for Shiv Sena to walk out of unnatural alliance with NCP and Congress to save party and party workers. Shiv Sena and Shiv Sainiks weakened even as ruling alliance partners Congress and NCP got boost,” Eknath Shinde said.

Eknath Shinde faction’s Deepak Kesarkar had said, “The MLAs had told party president Uddhav Thackeray that they should stay with the party with whom they had contested election [BJP]….When so many people voice the same opinion, there must be some substance in it.”

The stance has now changed!


The Uddhav Thackeray team, meanwhile, believes that Eknath Shinde’s difficulties will only increase and that he will be replaced by Ajit Pawar.

A Shiv Sena (UBT) mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ editorial has claimed that Ajit Pawar “has not gone there for the deputy CM’s post. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and rebel MLAs of the Sena would be disqualified soon and Pawar would be coronated”.

“Their so-called Hindutva is now over. The day is not very far when Shinde and his rebel colleagues will be disqualified,” it read.

Sanjay Raut has also claimed that Eknath Shinde will lose the CM’s post. “Today I am saying this in front of the camera, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra is going to change. Eknath Shinde is being removed. Eknath Shinde and the 16 MLAs are going to be disqualified,” Sanjay Raut said.

Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan has claimed he has information that the BJP has promised Ajit Pawar the post of Maharashtra chief minister. “Just bargaining was going on over what he [Ajit] should be getting. As per our information, he has been given a promise of chief minister’s post by pushing Eknath Shinde aside with the help of Assembly speaker’s decision [on disqualification of 16 Shiv Sena MLAs]” he said.

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Updated: 03 Jul 2023, 06:31 PM IST

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