Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil’s Saturday remark that the party had accepted Eknath Shinde as the state’s Chief Minister with a “heavy heart” has given ammunition to the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena to hit out at the new coalition government. 

The Thackeray camp said Patil’s remark indicated that the Shinde-BJP government will not last more than six months. The rebel camp, on the other hand, asserted that Shinde will continue as chief minister for the remaining 2.5 years and that the government will complete its full term. 

“We would like to congratulate Chandrakant-dada Patil for speaking the truth. Whatever he spoke only indicates that Eknath Shinde was made the chief minister as a stopgap arrangement and he will soon be dethroned. The Shinde camp, which is celebrating, will soon receive a jolt,” The Indian Express quoted Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut as saying. 

“This was a ploy by the BJP to hoodwink the people of this country. They have bought time. They will soon engineer another customary toppling game, they will replace Shinde on one excuse or the other. After that, the Shinde camp will be in tatters. The government’s fall is for sure.It might take six months, but it will happen,” he added. 

Patil on Saturday caused a flutter when he said: “”We needed to provide a leader who would convey the right message and ensure stability. The central leadership and Devendra-ji decided to back Eknath Shinde as CM with a heavy heart. We were unhappy but decided to accept the decision.”

After the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government due to a rebellion by 40 Sena MLAs led by Shinde, it was widely speculated that Fadnavis would become the chief minister. 

But Fadnavis announced that Shinde would lead the new government. Fadnavis, a former CM, also said that he would stay outside the government, but within a couple of hours, BJP president J P Nadda announced that Fadnavis will take oath as deputy CM. 

Meanwhile, when asked about Patil’s comments, state BJP leader Ashish Shelar told reporters that it was not the party’s or Patil’s own stand, but he was articulating the feelings of ordinary workers.

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