Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday made it clear he was in charge of the BJP-led government in the state, when, at a function to mark the 90th birth anniversary of the late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, he said he holds the “remote control” of the state government and that ministers, especially those from the Shiv Sena, should understand this.
The CM was speaking at a function where five schemes were launched in Bal Thackeray’s name.
When Uddhav Thackeray reminded Fadnavis how his father would wield the remote during the Shiv Sena-BJP rule between 1995 and 1999, Fadnavis said: “It came to Uddhavji by legacy and he has now given his consent to me to use the same. The reigns of the government are in my hands. Ministers in the cabinet should realise the fact that I operate the remote control of the alliance government,” Fadnavis said. He told Shiv Sena leaders the alliance would complete its five-year term.
Fadnavis’ remarks are the latest in a series of exchanges between the ruling allies, at loggerheads over several issues ever since they formed government more than a year ago.
The Sena mouthpiece has often been critical of the state. Recently, Uddhav criticised Fadnavis for his decision to review the controversial open spaces policy that the BMC — where the Sena is the majority — passed. Political observers said Fadnavis’ message was loud and clear – that the BJP is now the larger party in the state.
“The statement was well-thought-out. The BJP wants to make it clear to its ally the days of Bal Thackeray are over and that they must accept it. As the Sena has no courage to snap ties, the BJP resorts to such arm-twisting to show Sena it will have to accept their decisions,” said political analyst Prakash Bal.
However, it is not just Sena ministers who are miffed with their CM. Even BJP ministers are reportedly not happy, as Fadnavis has changed decisions they have taken, for instance, the draft of the National Education policy issued by school education minister Vinod Tawde and the staying of a contract to install solar pumps by the power department. Fadnavis also stayed transfers of some officials in the revenue department, headed by senior cabinet colleague Eknath Khadse.