Mumbai: Just when it looked like the month-long political crisis in Maharashtra was a closed chapter, Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Anantkumar Hegde dropped a bombshell on Monday, claiming that Devendra Fadnavis was made chief minister for the second time only to prevent Rs 40,000 crore in Central funds that were meant for development from falling into the hands of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress.
Mr Hegde claimed that Mr Fadnavis — in a bid to prevent the ‘misuse’ of the funds — had transferred the amount to the Centre just 15 hours after becoming chief minister despite lacking a majority.
“You all know that recently in Maharashtra for just 80 hours our person was chief minister, but soon Fadnavis resigned. Why did we have to do this drama? Didn’t we know, despite knowing we don’t have majority, why did he become CM? This is the question commonly everyone ask (sic),” Mr Hegde said speaking in Uttara Kannada district.
“More than about `40,000 crore was under CM’s control. If NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena come to power certainly that `40,000 cro-re would not have gone for development work and wo-uld have gone for different things,” he said.
“It was entirely planned earlier itself. Once we got to know about three parties forming government, it was decided that a drama has to be played out. So, adjustments were made and oath was taken by Fadnavis as CM. After oath within 15 hours, Fadnavis systematically ensured that the money reaches where it had to and protected it,” he said.
Mr Fadnavis, apparently embarrassed by the clai-ms, promptly issued a denial, stating that no major decision was taken during his second stint as chief minister.
However, the claims provided fresh ammunition to the Shiv Sena, which lashed out against its former ally and Mr Fadnavis. Sena MP Sanjay Raut said Mr Fadnavis’ purported actions were “treachery against Maharashtra”. He said the state chief secretary would clarify on the issue.