Fadnavis to be CM if Shinde is Disqualified
Mumbai: Maharashtra could get a new chief minister in the next three months. According to sources, Devendra Fadnavis is likely to become the CM in case Eknath Shinde is disqualified under the anti-defection law. Ajit Pawar’s inclusion in the government is also seen as a precautionary measure to ensure the state government’s stability.
A highly-placed source in the BJP told this newspaper that a new friend in the ruling alliance will make Mr Fandnavis more powerful. “Since Ajit Pawar has extended his support to the BJP, it makes Mr Fadnavis’s position strong before the central leadership. In the coming three months, Maharashtra may get a new chief minister in Mr Fadnavis,” the source said.
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut said that Ait Pawar joining the government is a clear indication that Mr Shinde’s days in the chief minister’s office are numbered. “After the SC order on the Maharashtra political crisis, it is a foregone conclusion that Mr Shinde and the MLAs supporting him will be disqualified. Therefore, the BJP needed Ajit Pawar,” he said.
The Supreme Court has asked Maharashtra Assembly speaker Rahul Narvekar to decide the disqualification petitions filed by the Uddhav Thackeray faction against 40 Shiv Sena MLAs who broke away last year. The SC has said that while deciding the disqualifications, the Speaker cannot rely on the Election Commissioner of India’s decision to recognise the Shinde faction as the real Shiv Sena. The court also said that the Speaker has to take the decision as per the political party’s stand, which was led by Uddhav Thackeray, and not based on the stand of the legislative party led by Eknath Shinde at the time.
Maharashtra NCP president Jayant Patil, who is still with Sharad Pawar, said that Ajit’s inclusion will reduce the importance of Mr Shinde. “Some people do not like the way the CM functions. Now to reduce his importance, Ajit Pawar has been added to the government that’s already in majority,” Mr Patil said.
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray also said that Ajit’s rebellion reflects poorly on Mr Shinde’s competence. “40 MLAs had left us claiming that Ajit Pawar was undermining their political careers and Uddhav Thackeray was not stopping him. While those who defected with Mr Shinde did not get anything, nine NCP leaders took oath today,” he said.