Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde will be the new chief minister of Maharashtra, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said on Thursday in Mumbai.
The dramatic announcement came after Fadnavis and Shinde met Governor B S Koshyari at Raj Bhavan.
It was considered a foregone conclusion that Fadnavis will become the CM for the third time, in alliance with the Shinde-led Sena rebels.
Fadnavis said Shinde will be sworn in as CM at Raj Bhavan at 7.30 pm on Thursday. I won’t be part of the Eknath Shinde-led ministry and will support it from outside, said Fadnavis.
“After the swearing-in ceremony today, we will have a cabinet expansion and Shiv Sena and BJP leaders will take the oath. I will stay out of the government,” said Fadnavis.
Shinde and Fadnavis held a brief meeting at the latter’s residence before both of them headed to the Raj Bhavan along with several BJP leaders.
“In 2019, BJP and Shiv Sena had an alliance and we got required numbers in Assembly elections. We hoped to form the government, but Shiv Sena chose to get into an alliance with those against whom Balasaheb (Thackeray) protested throughout his life. Shiv Sena formed an alliance with those who are against Hindutva and Savarkar. Shiv Sena insulted the mandate of the people,” said Fadnavis.
“Shiv Sena MLAs were demanding that the alliance with Congress and NCP should be ended but Uddhav Thackeray ignored these MLAs and gave priority to MVA alliance partners, that’s why these MLAs intensified their voices,” he added.
“The decision that we have taken is committed to Balasaheb’s Hindutva and for the development work in the constituencies of our MLAs. We have 50 MLAs with us,” said Eknath Shinde at the press conference. Fadnavis could have become CM going by the numbers but he showed a big heart and I thank him, said Shinde. The new government in Maharashtra will get the backing of PM Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and J P Nadda, added Shinde.
On Wednesday, Uddhav Thackeray resigned as the Maharashtra chief minister, bringing an end to the 31-month old Maha Vikas Aghadi government.