Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis knew Eknath Shinde will be the next chief minister of Maharashtra, and it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who called Fadnavis and told him that he should take charge as the rebel leader’s deputy, sources in the party told News18.
In a big twist on Thursday, Fadnavis declared Shinde as the new CM. A former CM himself, Fadnavis had initially said he will not be part of the government. A few hours later, however, BJP national president JP Nadda said the BJP top leadership directed Fadnavis to take charge as deputy CM. Fadnavis had served as the Maharashtra CM for a full five-year term till 2019.
“He (Fadnavis) was part of the whole process and knew that he will not be the CM and that Shinde will be declared CM. Fadnavis is a dedicated karyakarta and excellent administrator,” said a BJP source.
Another highly placed source said, “Fadnavis was smiling and contended. The party’s vision for Maharashtra is greater than anyone’s. He knew that whatever effort he has put in is going to make Shinde the CM. His family members, too, weren’t present in Mumbai for two days before the swearing-in was supposed to take place.”
According to sources, Prime Minister Modi called Fadnavis to tell him that he is supposed to take charge as deputy CM and not sit outside the government. “He is a good administrator and he is required to participate in governance. We are doing it for Maharashtra. The decision to make him deputy CM is solely for governance purposes,” the source added.
The senior leader added that Fadnavis is a dedicated and committed karyakarta and “could not have said no to those who wish him well”.
Responding to speculation that the former CM had been “cut to size” by being given the deputy’s charge, the source said, “Everyone knew it was Fadnavis who could have taken the party to such heights. It is only him who could have challenged Maha Vikas Aghadi and if there is anyone who deserved to be at the top post available to the party, it was Fadnavis.”
With inputs from News18