Fadnavis firm on resignation as DCM, close aide may replace him

Minister Girish Mahajan may be elevated in CM Shinde-led MahaYuti government.
Fadnavis firm on resignation as DCM, close aide may replace him

MUMBAI : As Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is firm on his decision to resign taking responsibility for the NDA’s poor performance in the state, BJP minister Girish Mahajan, a close aide of Fadnavis, is likely to be elevated as deputy CM in Eknath Shinde-led government, sources said, adding the party leadership is yet to decide on it.

Fadnavis took the onus of BJP’s major defeat in Lok Sabha elections where BJP’s tally dropped from 23 seats in 2019 to nine. The BJP leader said they failed to counter the narrative of the Opposition and that damaged poll prospects. In the 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections, BJP had won the nine seats.

“BJP state president Chandrashekar Bawankule and party ministers tried to persuade Fadnavis to rethink his decision, but he is firm and even met top party leaders in Delhi to convey his resignation decision,” a party leader said, wishing not to be named.

A source said that the top leadership of BJP is unhappy with Fadnavis. “Despite having power in the state and at the Centre, BJP abysmally failed in Lok Sabha elections. The onus was put on Fadnavis and he was asked to step down,” the source said.

Fadnavis said he wants to work for the party for the forthcoming assembly elections. “By taking Fadnavis’ resignation, BJP leadership is also trying to put pressure on Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath where BJP tally came down drastically,” Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut said. “BJP is in panic, therefore they are seeking their leaders’ resignation. Modi and Amit Shah also need to step down taking the responsibility of BJP’s defeat in general elections,” Raut added.

Sources said Fadnavis has proposed the name of his close aide Girish Mahajan for deputy chief minister post who will also handle the home ministry in the state. “In Jalgaon district, BJP won both Lok Sabha seats – Jalgaon and Raver. Mahajan comes from that district so he has been given credit for BJP’s victory in Jalgaon,” a party leader said, requesting anonymity. “Besides, Fadnavis will also have a major say when it comes to taking some decisions in the home department. Therefore, Mahajan’s name has been proposed. However the party high command is to take a final decision over it,” he added.

Meanwhile, deputy CM Ajit Pawar on Friday said that the offer of Fadnavis to resign over the BJP’s poor performance in the state was not discussed at the NDA meeting in Delhi.

Speaking to reporters in Delhi, Pawar, whose NCP won a seat in the Lok Sabha elections, said, “The offer by Fadnavis to quit as Deputy CM is an internal matter of the BJP and there was no reason for it to be discussed at the NDA meeting in Delhi.” Sources said Home Minister Amit Shah has spoken to Fadnavis and asked him to continue his work in the government.

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