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BJP Choses Eknath Shinde Over Devendra Fadnavis as Maharashtra CM: Here’s Why?

The Economic Times

BJP’s appointment of Eknath Shinde as the 20th Chief Minister comes as a surprise, as it was expected that Devendra Fadnavis would return as the CM, with his party having more seats than the Sena.

Maha political crisis: BJP admits some of its MLAs met Eknath Shinde in  Surat | Editorji

Credits: Editorji

The choice of Shinde is not a mere power-sharing arrangement, but a major political strategy. This may have entirely been the BJP’s call, though the party would claim that it had nothing to do with the rebellion of Shinde and other MLAs.

“I will not be a part of the cabinet, but … I will provide full support and co-operation to the government,” Devendra Fadnavis had said. Though he was later appointed as the Deputy CM, let us explore why Mr. Fadnavis was not elevated this time?

Eknath Shinde takes oath as Maharashtra Chief Minister, Fadnavis as Deputy  CM

Credits: ANI News

Firstly, The Maharashtra legislative assembly suspended 16 MLAs under the advice of the Shiv Sena leadership. The status of these MLAs is still in question, with the Supreme Court hearing the matter.

Even if the suspension is revoked, the legal status of these MLAs remains uncertain. This is because they would still face the sword of the anti-defection law, which prevents them from forming an independent bloc, even if they account for more than two-thirds of the total MLAs of the party.

Therefore, Shinde’s camp would have been left with only two options :
a. merge with the BJP or a smaller party aligned to the NDA
b. legally stake claim to being the real ‘Shiv Sena’.

The first option would mean conceding their claim to be the real Shiv Sena. The second option would be difficult as it involves a legal challenge. Furthermore, there are reports of rebellion within the bloc. From contesting with Uddhav Thackeray and forming the government with BJP, the priority for the MLAs somehow shifted to preserve their identity as Shiv Sainiks.

Also, there may have been doubts in the BJP regarding the reliability of a section of the Sena MLAs. There were fears that a section of the MLAs may retreat if it came to a complete split from the Sena leadership.

Amidst all this, ‘Hindutva’ remains the central concern. Uddhav Thackeray has failed to project himself as a Hindutva leader or to defame the BJP’s version of Hindutva. The BJP now seems to have a complete monopoly over Hindutva in Maharashtra.

The move was also made by keeping in mind the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, as Maharashtra has 48 seats, second only to UP. It is no doubt that the central BJP leadership would do away with placing a BJP leader at the helm of state affairs, keeping in mind the big picture.

Amit Shah, J P Nadda to discuss Maharashtra development with Fadnavis in  Delhi : Maharashtra News

Credits: Maharashtra News

If the present MVA government would have stayed, they would have shown that formidable strength against the BJP in the BMC as well as general elections.

Last but not the least, the BJP’s move to make Shinde CM also comes with a tacit message to other ‘family-run parties’. It is an invitation to every possible Eknath Shinde in these parties: “gather courage and rebel, the BJP will support you.”

References: The Quint

Featured Image Source: The Economic Times

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