Devendra Fadnavis offers to resign as deputy CM after BJP’s poor performance in LS polls | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Devendra Fadnavis offers to resign as deputy CM after BJP’s poor performance in LS polls

Jun 06, 2024 07:52 AM IST

Deputy chief minister and the face of the BJP in Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, took responsibility for the party’s poor showing in the state and requested the central leadership to relieve him of all responsibilities in the government

Mumbai: Deputy chief minister and the face of the BJP in Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, took responsibility for the party’s poor showing in the state and requested the central leadership to relieve him of all responsibilities in the government.

Mumbai, India – June 05, 2024: Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis alongwith BJP leaders addressing the media, at BJP office, in Mumbai, India, on Wednesday, June 05, 2024. (Photo by Bhushan Koyande/HT Photo)
Mumbai, India – June 05, 2024: Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis alongwith BJP leaders addressing the media, at BJP office, in Mumbai, India, on Wednesday, June 05, 2024. (Photo by Bhushan Koyande/HT Photo)

The BJP had mounted an ambitious Mission 45 for the Mahayuti alliance to win as many seats but ended up with only 17, of which the BJP won just nine. A day after the results, Fadnavis told the media that he wanted to step down as deputy chief minister so he could focus on winning the assembly elections slated for October this year for the party.

This is the second time in two years that he has expressed his reluctance to be deputy chief minister. In June 2022 when the BJP derailed the MVA government Eknath Shinde was made chief minister in a surprise move and Fadnavis who led the BJP-Shive Sena government in the state in 2014 was announced as his deputy despite his protestations. This time too it is unlikely that the central leadership will entertain his request. Fadnavis, one of the sharpest administrators in Maharashtra, is key that holds a disparate three-party cabinet together.

However, the party and the alliance’s poor showing in the state has already led to some internal churn. The BJP contested 28 seats and won 9 but more crucially the party did not win a single seat in Marathwada and won only two seats each in the prosperous western Maharashtra region and in Vidarbha which has been their traditional stronghold. It’s vote share too dipped from 27.84% in 2019 to 26.17% in 2024.

“Our strike rate would have touched double digit had the BJP not insisted on having a last-minute say in candidate selection in 4-5 seats, including in Yavatmal and Nashik” grumbled a senior Shiv Sena leader who also cited the example of Mumbai south where the party wanted Milind Deora to contest but were forced by the BJP to field Yamini Jadhav and that too 24 hours before nominations closed.

The party’s disappointing show in Maharashtra, a key state for the BJP, significantly dented the overall tally of the BJP.

“I was leading the party in the election and hence take full responsibility of the poor performance and the setback to the BJP. We have identified the reasons for our debacle and there is need for the corrective steps to be taken ahead of the Assembly elections. I have therefore decided to request to my central leadership to divest me of the responsibility of the post of deputy chief minsiter and allow me to work for the party full time,” Fadnavis said on Wednesday.

His decision is being viewed as a political move aimed at galvanising the party cadre and also as a pre-emptive step to prevent his detractors within the party-- of whom there are several-- from targeting him ahead of the assembly elections.

Fadnavis addressed the media at the party headquarter in Mumbai after meeting the election management committees comprising top state BJP leaders. The party’s failure to counter the “false narrative about scrapping of the constitution,” partial anti-incumbency and issues related to the price to onion, cotton and soyabean were some of the reasons for their poor showing, he said.

Fadnavis’s announcement to step down as deputy chief minister was immediately met by a chorus of protest. Several party colleagues rushed to his Malabar Hill residence to convince him to reconsider while chief minister Eknath Shinde said the three parties contested together and hence they were collectively responsible for the electoral debacle. “We have requested him to devote four days to organisation and remaining days of the week to the governance and we are hopeful that he will accept our request,” said state BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule.

Other party leaders, speaking off-the-record, said neither the BJP leadership was expected to accept his resignation and neither was Fadnavis expected to pursue the matter. “The announcement is to keep his detractors within the party and the government under check. He is not happy with some of the decisions taken by CM Shinde and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar. At the same time, some of his recommendations were overruled by the central leadership during the Lok Sabha polls. He wants to send out a message with this move,” said a leader close to Fadnavis.

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