MUMBAI: As the three-day violent agitation by quota-seeking Marathas ended on Wednesday, ruling ally Shiv Sena claimed that the BJP central leadership was contemplating replacing Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, but the BJP dismissed it as "rumour-mongering".
Sena MP Sanjay Raut created a flutter when he said that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi would take a final call on leadership change in the state.
"Talk of changing the CM is going on within the BJP. The present situation is quite worrying as the state government has failed to tackle it.. The government has disappeared from the political scene," Raut claimed.
He called upon the government to immediately initiate a dialogue with the Marathas and not shirk the issue saying its 'sub-judice' as successive governments have not resolved it since years.
However, a battery of BJP leaders dismissed Raut's contentions with party spokesperson Madhav Bhandari even accusing the Sena MP of indulging in "rumour-mongering".
"There are no issues in the party.. the government and the CM are stable and doing a good job," said Bhandari, adding that when BJP was in opposition it had joined the Maratha agitations for reservations in education and government jobs.
Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil also rubbished Raut's statement, asking who would remove a Chief Minister who works till 3 a.m., and said the government has already done the best possible to solve the issue.
In the midst of the agitation on Wednesday, Sena received a blow when its legislator from Kannad in Aurangabad Harshwardhan Jadhav suddenly resigned demanding Maratha quotas.
"With effect from today, I hereby resign from my legislative assembly seat," Jadhav said in a terse one-liner emailed to the Speaker of the Assembly Haribhau Bagade.
During the agitatation in Aurangabad on Tuesday, Jadhav had vowed that if the state government failed to announced quotas for Marathas within 24 hours, he would quit his assembly seat.