The Maharashtra BJP on Friday posted a four-year-old video of its leader and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announcing that he will return to helm the state, prompting speculation in political circles.
“I will return for building a new Maharashtra,” the state BJP posted in the evening on social media platform X, along with the video.
However, the post was deleted two hours later.
Before the Maharashtra Assembly elections in 2019, Fadnavis, then-chief minister, had said, “Mi punha yein” (I will return). The remarks evoked many social media memes.
Fadnavis is now one of the two deputy chief ministers in Maharashtra, the other one being Ajit Pawar of the NCP’s rebel faction.
Maharashtra BJP’s chief spokesperson Keshav Upadhye said there is no need to draw “any other conclusion” from the video posted on Friday.
“BJP’s stance is clear. This video has also been posted earlier on social media. Fadnavis has said the next state elections will be fought under Shinde’s leadership,” he told a TV channel.
“There is no need for the Shinde group to be apprehensive (over the video). Shinde and Fadnavis share a good rapport and coordination. Shinde, Fadnavis, and Ajit Pawar are working together for the development of Maharashtra,” Upadhye said.
CM Eknath Shinde told a TV channel that he is yet to see the video posted by the state BJP unit.
BJP leader Pravin Darekar said Fadnavis has already made it clear that the state government is working fine under Shinde’s leadership.
Former CM and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan wondered if there is a move afoot to replace Shinde as CM. “Maybe Shinde is being made the scapegoat. Such a move may be because the government led by him has failed to tackle important issues,” Chavan added.
The state BJP posted the video two days after Fadnavis visited New Delhi and met senior party leaders.
The Shinde-led Shiv Sena, the NCP (Ajit Pawar group), and the BJP are part of the state’s ruling coalition.