A day after BJP Maharashtra chief Chandrakant Patil created a furore by claiming that the party has accepted Eknath Shinde as Chief Minister with a “heavy heart”, the Shiv Sena said the remark indicated that the current government will not last more than six months. The Eknath Shinde faction, on the other hand, said he (Shinde) will remain the Chief Minister for the rest of the term.
“We would like to congratulate Chandrakantdada Patil for speaking the truth. Whatever he spoke only indicates that Eknath Shinde was made the Chief Minister as a stop-gap arrangement and he would be dethroned soon,” Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said.
On Saturday, Patil created a flutter when he said at a party meeting in Panvel, “It was with a heavy heart that the BJP made Eknath Shinde the CM. It was sad…but we accepted the decision and happily agreed to move forward.”
“This [making Shinde the CM] was a ploy by the BJP to hoodwink the people of this country. They bought time. They will soon engineer their customary toppling game; and will replace Shinde on one excuse or the other. After that, the Shinde camp will be in tatters. The government’s fall is for sure. It might take a few more months, but it will happen,” he said.
Responding to Raut’s claim, Shinde camp spokesperson Deepak Kesarkar said, “Let them claim whatever they want to, but our government will last a full term. Eknath Shinde will remain the Chief Minister for two-and-a-half years.”
Asked whether there was unease in Shinde camp after Patil’s remark, Kesarkar said, “There was no unease in our camp. We have taken the statement positively. Eknath Shinde becoming the CM was a surprise for us. The BJP rank and file found it a little difficult to digest because for them too, it was a surprise. They were thinking that Devendra Fadnavis would be the Chief Minister and when Shinde’s name was announced, it took them all by surprise…Anyway, Patil has also clarified that the BJP happily accepted the decision regarding Shinde’s CMship.”
On Raut’s defamatory statements, Kesarkar said, “We can also give a befitting reply. But we don’t want to stoop low…We are eager to slog for the people of the state and we have started in that direction. We don’t want to indulge in verbal exchanges everyday.”