Claims and speculations doing rounds about a supposed rift growing between Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis touched new heights after Devendra Fadnavis decided to skip a funtion in Kolhapur due to “medical reasons.”
Even though Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde tried his best to emphasise that everything was well between the Shiv Sena and BJP and that the controversial ad page showing Shinde as “people’s favourite” for the CM’s post, reaction by opposition leaders in Maharashtra and the events leading upto this point raise questions.
Though reports of supposed rift between Shinde and Fadnavis kept making rounds, the two leaders showed bonhomie and their public appearances did not give anything away. However, the first real sign of discontent in Sena leaders came after reports that NCP’s Ajit Pawar was ‘softening’ his stand towards the BJP. A few Sena leaders had said it in the open that the Ajit Pawar’s issue should not be discussed, even as the state BJP said that “doors are open for all.”
However the fresh round of reports of tensions comes a day after a newspaper ad showing Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde with Prime Minister Narendra Modi (and no Fadnavis) and a “survey” claiming Eknath Shinde’s approval is marginally higher than Devendra Fadnavis for the chief minister’s post.
Reactions have come in from all quarters. While UBT’s Sanjay Raut said that this Shiv Sena is “Modi and Shah’s sena”, NCP stalwart and leader of opposition said that he had not seen such an ad in his life. However, Shiv Sena leader and Kolhapur guardian minister Deepak Kesarkar said that Devendra Fadnavis skipped the event in Kolhapur due to an “ear-related problem” and dismissed reports of rift between Shinde and Fadnavis.