Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde to be next Maharashtra chief minister

Published on Jun 30, 2022 04:58 PM IST

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis said they will extend their support to the Shinde camp

Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari offers sweets to rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde. (PTI)
Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari offers sweets to rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde. (PTI)

Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde will be the next Maharashtra chief minister and will be sworn in at 7.30pm on Thursday, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Devendra Fadnavis announced even as the latter was widely expected to take over the state’s top post following the fall of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

Fadnavis said the BJP will extend its support to the Shinde camp, which has 39 lawmakers as well as the backing of 16 Independents and others. “The Shinde-led government will resolve issues which have been stalled for last two and a half years effectively.” He added he will not be part of the government.

Uddhav Thackeray’s resignation as the Maharashtra chief minister on Wednesday after the Supreme Court refused to stall a floor test that the MVA government appeared set to lose shifted the focus BJP as it was expected to form the next government with the support of the rebels.

Shinde, who led the rebels, was expected to be sworn in as the deputy chief minister and Fadnavis as the chief minister after losing power in 2019 when the Shiv Sena walked out of a pre-poll alliance with the BJP and formed a government in alliance with Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party. Thackeray’s resignation culminated Fadnavis’s campaign to topple the MVA government.

The battle for the Sena is separately expected to play out before the Election Commission of India as the Shinde has maintained it is the Shiv Sena. It remains to be seen how many Sena Members of Parliament back the Shinde faction.

Shinde on Wednesday reiterated that they are not rebels and remain Shiv Sainiks while pledging to carry forward Sena founder Bal Thackeray’s agenda and Hindutva ideology.

Thackeray maintained he was not going anywhere either and will meet Shiv Sainiks at Sena Bhavan and rebuild the party with new blood. He insisted the Shiv Sena will remain the same and nobody can take it away from them. Thackeray said he was not going away forever and will be around to gather all his people.

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