MUMBAI: Maharashtra Health Minister Tanaji Sawant on Monday revealed that Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis played a key role in toppling the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
Sawant further said that 150 meetings were held between current chief minister Eknath Shinde and Fadnavis to unseat the MVA government.
The government led by an alliance between Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress collapsed in June 2022 with the rebellion of Sena leader Eknath Shinde, who then formed the new government with BJP's Fadnavis as deputy chief minister.
BJP leaders and Fadnavis had earlier denied their role in pulling down the Thackeray government. They had maintained that Shinde’s revolt against Uddhav Thackeray was an internal matter of Shiv Sena.
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The Maharashtra minister said he decided to rebel against the government after being denied a ministerial berth in the Uddhav cabinet. “Whatever I said that I have proven by my actions. After the 2019 state assembly elections, I was sidelined and not inducted as minister as well. That time only, I decided to topple this incumbent government. Then worked slowly to pursue and convince everyone."
"I was given the responsibility to pursue Marathwada, Western Maharashtra and Vidarbha region MLAs of Shiv Sena to come out from the government and form,” Sawant added while speaking at a function in his home constituency.
Notably, the Election Commission of India allotted the party name "Shiv Sena" and the symbol "Bow and Arrow" to the faction led by Eknath Shinde on February 17.
Due to the EC verdict, the Thackeray family had lost control of the party that was founded in 1966 by Uddhav's father Bal Thackeray.
Meanwhile, Uddhav Thackeray had approached the Supreme Court against the Election Commission of India (ECI)'s order. However, the top court had refused to stay the poll regulator's order.
The SC bench also refused to accede to Uddhav’s request of restraining the Shinde faction from taking over the party’s office and bank account in Parliament and state assembly.
Shiv Sena, an ideological ally of the BJP since 1984, broke its long-standing alliance with the saffron party in 2019 when Uddhav Thackeray joined hands with arch-rivals NCP and Congress to become the chief minister.
(With inputs from ENS, PTI)
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