CM Shinde, Fadnavis Call On PM Modi

Newly-appointed Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on Saturday.

It is the first meeting of Shinde with PM Modi after taking oath as the Maharashtra CM.

Earlier today, Shine and Fadnavis held a joint press conference in the national capital.

Shinde said, “Maharashtra has a strong government. We have 164 MLAs while the opposition has 99. My government will complete its tenure. We will even win the next election.”

He further said the existence of Shiv Sena MLAs came under threat during the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) regime and so he revolted against the coalition.

“The existence of our MLAs came under threat under the MVA government. Back then we could not speak that is why we took the step. It is only the natural alliance of BJP and Shiv Sena that can take Maharashtra ahead,” added Shinde.

Deputy CM Fadnavis emphasised that Eknath Shinde is the leader of the new Maharashtra government.

“My party made me the Chief Minister earlier. Now as per the need of the party, we have abided by the party’s decision. Eknath Shinde is our leader and CM. We will work under him. The injustice was undone and our natural alliance was revived,” Fadnavis said.

Prior to the press conference, Shinde and Fadnavis held a meeting with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president JP Nadda on cabinet expansion and the formula for dividing cabinet berths between BJP and Shiv Sena, sources said.

The meeting which lasted about 40 minutes took place at the residence of Nadda in the national capital. According to the sources, the BJP has in initial talks offered 11 ministerial posts to the Shinde faction and has suggested that 29 ministers would be from the party.

Shiv Sena’s Eknath Shinde faction is in favour of keeping the Home Department with the Chief Minister. However, no official information has been given on this matter yet.

This is the first visit of Shinde to the national capital as Maharashtra Chief Minister. Shinde and Fadnavis had also met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday.

Sources said the meeting with Shah lasted for four hours and the political situation in Maharashtra. During the meeting with Shah, Shinde and Fadnavis discussed matters related to the state including the formation of the new cabinet.

With the buzz of the Maharashtra cabinet being expanded in two phases doing rounds, the meeting is significant amid the likelihood of the expansion taking place before the presidential election on July 18.

Shinde took oath as Chief Minister and Fadnavis as Deputy Chief Minister of the new government on June 30 after Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray resigned following a revolt in his party.

Shine had led the revolt and was joined by some independent MLAs. Shinde had said earlier that decision on cabinet expansion will be taken soon after discussions.

Sources said that more than a dozen people of the Shinde camp can be made ministers.

Eight Ministers of the Uddhav government had joined Shinde in the revolt. There is speculation that all of them can be made Ministers again.

Shinde and Fadnavis also met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at his residence in Delhi on Saturday. They also called on President Ram Nath Kovind.

Shinde and Fadnavis are also likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the evening. After his visit to the capital, Shinde will leave for Pune in a private plane.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction has moved the Supreme Court opposing the Maharashtra governor’s June 30 decision to invite Shinde-led MLAs supported by the BJP to form a government in the state.

The matter will be heard in the Supreme Court on July 11. Referring to the Thackeray faction, Thackeray has said that no one can take the party symbol of bow and arrow.

In the meeting, they also held discussions on the possibility of giving ministerial posts to all the MLAs who were Ministers in the Thackeray government.

Shinde won the floor test in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on the last day of the two-day special session of the House on July 4. In the 288-member House, 164 MLAs voted for the motion of confidence, while 99 voted against it. (ANI)

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