BJP did not promise CM’s post to Sena in 2019, says Eknath Shinde

Updated on Aug 15, 2022 04:56 AM IST

I was told that when BJP is comfortable sharing the CM chair with me in Maharashtra and Nitish Kumar in Bihar, then why would they have any issue in sharing it (With Sena), Shinde said.

Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde (Praful Gangurde/HT Photo)
Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde (Praful Gangurde/HT Photo)
By, Mumbai

In a veiled attack on Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, chief minister Eknath Shinde said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had not promised sharing of the chief ministerial position for two and half years as part of their pre-poll pact with the Sena in the run-up to the 2019 Lok sabha election. Shinde said he got confirmation on this from prime minister Narendra Modi and union minister Amit Shah.

I was told that when BJP is comfortable sharing the CM chair with me in Maharashtra and Nitish Kumar in Bihar, then why would they have any issue in sharing it (With Sena), Shinde said.

He made the statement while addressing a gathering at Dr Kashinath Ghanekar auditorium in Thane on Saturday evening. “I also asked PM Modi and Amit Shah about that promise. I was told that if Nitish Kumar in Bihar and me in Maharashtra can be appointed as chief ministers despite having fewer MLAs then there was no reason for them not to fulfil a promise if at all it was made (to the Sena leadership),” Shinde said pointing out that his faction has only 50 MLAs in Maharashtra compared to 106 legislators of the BJP.

The chief minister’s position was a major contention between the old allies — BJP and Shiv Sena in 2019 which also led to the snapping of over two-decade-old ties between the saffron parties. Later, Sena decided to join the MVA coalition comprising NCP and Congress.

Thackeray has always maintained that the union home minister Amit Shah promised him the chief minister position for half term during their discussion for an alliance in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

Shinde’s remarks were acknowledged by deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. “Whatever Shinde said is true because I was part of the deliberations that happened then,” Fadnavis said.

With the help of 39 MLAs, Shinde revolted against Thackeray’s leadership leading to the fall of the MVA government in June. He forged an alliance with BJP and, to everyone’s surprise, was made the chief minister instead of Devendra Fadnavis.

Shiv Sena questioned the claim and asked why Shah was quiet for six months even after both the parties parted ways over differences. Sena spokesperson Arvind Sawant said, “The moment Amit Shah left Matoshree (Thackeray’s residence in 2019) post deliberations, Uddhav ji addressed a gathering and said that he has promised an alliance not only for Lok Sabha polls but also for assembly elections. Then, he also said that not only seats but power will also be shared. Fadnavis, who was also sitting next to him, didn’t utter a word or denied having made any such promise.”

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Wednesday, October 05, 2022
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