National

Fadnavis Gave Up Chance To Install BJP Mayor In BMC In 2017 For Shiv Sena's Sake: Maha CM Shinde

Shinde also sought to assuage concerns of his party colleagues after the Nationalist Congress Party's group led by Ajit Pawar joined his government a fortnight ago.

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Devendra Fadnavis
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Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has said Devendra Fadnavis gave up the opportunity to install a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) mayor in Mumbai after the 2017 civic polls for the sake of the Shiv Sena at his request.

But Uddhav Thackeray repaid this gesture by severing the alliance with the BJP two years later, the CM said on Saturday at a conclave of the Shiv Sena (Shinde faction) workers here. Shinde also sought to assuage concerns of his party colleagues after the Nationalist Congress Party's group led by Ajit Pawar joined his government a fortnight ago.

“Certain equations have to be formed in politics. Looking at the development (carried out by his government), Ajit Pawar too has backed our government,” he said. In June 2022, Shinde and 39 other Shiv Sena MLAs revolted against Uddhav Thackeray, then chief minister and president of the undivided Shiv Sena. One of the main reasons cited by them was that Ajit Pawar, as finance minister, did not allocate funds for their constituencies. 

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The revolt led to the collapse of the Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government. The Shiv Sena controlled the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) from 1997 to 2022. Elections to the country's richest civic body are due for the last one year.

"The BJP had almost won the BMC (in 2017 civic body polls). Devendra Fadnavis was the CM. Our chief (Uddhav Thackeray) said we have been controlling the BMC and it should not go out of our hands,” Shinde reminisced.

“But had Devendra Fadnavis decided, the mayor would have been of the BJP. But I told him that we are in the government, working together. And our boss' (Thackeray) heart is in Mumbai, so you leave Mumbai (for the Shiv Sena)," he said.

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"Devendra ji left the quest for Mumbai on my request, but how was this gesture repaid (by Thackeray)?” Shinde asked. In the tightly contested 2017 Mumbai civic body polls, the Shiv Sena won 84 seats with the BJP close on its heels by winning 82 seats. No party could win a majority but the Shiv Sena managed to get its mayor elected.

Shinde said despite this, Thackeray ignored "40-50 calls" when the process began to form government after the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly polls, and eventually formed government with the NCP and Congress.

“In the last seven years, Devendra Fadnavis did not even mention once that he could have won the BMC and installed a BJP mayor, but he gave it to the Shiv Sena. So who is ungrateful?” Shinde said, attacking Thackeray.

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