Maharashtra: Why Devendra Fadnavis accepted deputy CM post after initial reluctance? Hint: 2 phone calls

Why wasn’t Devendra Fadnavis chosen as Maharashtra chief minister? The BJP leader was instrumental in BJP’s Rajya Sabha success (File)

It took just two phone calls for Devendra Fadnavis to accept the Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister post. The former CM was reluctant to join the government after the party high command decided to hand out the chief ministerial post to Eknath Shinde, the Shiv Sena politician who brought the Uddhav Thackeray government down. 

Fadnavis, the key strategist behind the Shiv Sena coup against Thackeray, had been the chief minister of the state on two occasions. It was expected that he would get his third stint at the office. However, Shinde, who had the support of 39 Sena MLAs, was chosen as Thackeray’s successor. Announcing the decision, the senior politician said he would not join the Shinde government, betraying discontent at the denial of the post.

There were reports that Fadnavis was not kept in loop. 

However, a top BJP functionary told the news agency ANI that Fadnavis was aware of every development. The agency reported that a source told it the party high command wasn’t aware of the leader’s reluctance to join the Shinde government. The party came to know only after he made the announcement at a press conference. 

“There was no instruction given to Fadnavis and nobody knew that he would make an announcement that he will not be part of the government,” a top leader of the party told ANI.

Soon after the announcement the party started to pacify Fadnavis. 

BJP national president JP Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted requesting Fadnavis to accept the post. 

However, it was calls from Prime Minister Narendra Modi that made him accept the post. ANI reported that PM Modi called him at least two times to talk about the situation.   

The sources further said that Fadnavis was asked to reconsider his decision after he made the announcement.”Fadnavis has been a top administrator and an upright leader therefore he would be a huge addition to the government and the moment the party realized that he had made a surprise announcement he was asked to reconsider his decision within a couple of hours,” the sources added.

Devendra Fadnavis emerged as the force to reckon with in Maharashtra politics after he was able to eke out additional votes for the BJP in the recent Rajya Sabha elections. The party won the third seat despite being deficient in numbers. He also played a key role in the MLC elections that sparked the Sena rebellion.

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