Why Devendra Fadnavis was made Deputy CM of Maharashtra?  – A few assumptions

What could be the reasons behind making Devendra Fadnavis the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra despite him being the successful Chief Minister of the state just two and half years back?

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Devendra Fadnavis
The main people involved in Maharashtra saga unfolded in June 2022.

At least a decade ago I saw ex-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu become the foreign minister of Israel and also saw Russian President Vladimir Putin become the Prime minister of Russia. Both accepted to degrade their respective positions in different governments. At that time I thought that this can’t happen in India due to the huge egos our politicians have about their higher positions. But, my myth was broken this week by Devendra Fadnavis when he accepted the ‘request’ of top BJP brass to accept the Deputy Chief Minister’s position in the new Maharashtra government formation.

Whether it was a ‘masterstroke’ by the top BJP leadership or not but asking Fadnavis to become the Deputy of Eknath Shinde has stunned almost all the political analysts across the country. Even today not a single political analyst is able to decode the reason why this has happened and what is the thinking and logic behind this sudden move by the BJP. But in reality, it has happened and when I am writing this two days have passed since Devendra Fadnavis has taken oath as Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, a state in which he was a Chief Minister (a position higher than what he has now) for five consecutive years.

Not only that he was the Chief Minister of Maharashtra for five years but he is the only one who has achieved this feat since the establishment of the state on 1st May 1960 along with Gujarat. So a person with such distinction can’t be technically demoted like this and especially in Indian politics whereas I have mentioned above personal egos are always at galore. Yet the BJP ‘requested’ Fadnavis to become Deputy CM and he accepted it, of course (maybe) with some reluctance.

Now that Devendra Fadnavis has become the Deputy CM of Maharashtra and the shock of that decision has been absorbed by one and everyone who knows Indian politics well, it is a time to analyze or in all honesty, assume why such a decision was taken and implemented.

Whatever the reason may be one thing is sure and it is not an assumption at all that this decision in question wasn’t taken in a haste. It can’t be true that when the news broke about this around 6.30 pm just an hour before Eknath Shinde’s oath-taking ceremony to start, the decision was taken only a few minutes before that. We do remember clearly that Shinde-Fadnavis’ joint press conference about staking the claim to form the new government in Maharashtra was around 2 pm if not late. During that conference, only Devendra Fadnavis threw a bombshell that he is not going to be the CM, but Shinde will be the one.

So in just four and half hours after such a strong, dramatic, and game-changing decision was delivered to the media, there is no chance that a sudden thought might have come into the minds of JP Nadda, the National President of the BJP, and Amit Shah the Home Minister of India that it would be better if Fadnavis will also be the part of the government for our benefit, despite he said NO to any position just a few hours back in public before the press.

We all remember that Devendra Fadnavis was in Delhi just two days before and met top BJP leadership and later he came back to Mumbai and met the governor Bhagatsingh Koshyari to request that the Uddhav government is in minority and should be asked to take the vote of confidence in the Maha Assembly. So, the point is that this decision to make DF (as Fadnavis is now known on social media) Deputy CM wasn’t an afterthought and it can’t be like that when it comes to BJP. This decision and the timing of its announcement must have been taken or decided during DF’s visit to Delhi.

The timing must have been decided to provide the shocking value both to the people of Maharashtra and to the media and maybe to the BJP cadre in the state of Maharashtra. So this part is clear that when Devendra Fadnavis was asked to take one rank lower position in the next Maharashtra government than what he was enjoying just two and half years back. Now, let’s assume why BJP agreed or decided to play the second fiddle to the Eknath Shinde group despite having more than double MLAs in their ranks.

The first logical assumption that comes to mind is that during the entire episode of Eknath Shinde’s rebellion, the  BJP didn’t utter a single word about its position in the future. The state BJP leadership wanted to create a picture that this is an in-fighting of Shiv Sena and they have nothing to do with it. So once the fate of Shiv Sena is decided that Eknath Shinde has an overwhelming majority of SS MLAs then only BJP will support him and if DF is made Deputy CM there is no way that the Uddhav group of Shiv Sena can blame BJP for any power-grabbing tactics and engineering the coup lead by Shinde.

Now comes the caste factor into the picture. I am not a man of statistics, but what I have learned in the last week or so is that Maharashtra is dominated by Marathas. Thackerays are not Marathas, the biggest name in Maratha leadership in Maharashtra even today is Sharad Pawar. Eknath Shinde is also Maratha, so by promoting him and making him the CM of Maharashtra BJP wants to have Marathas on its side in the next so many elections. This move will also lessen the impact of Sharad Pawar and his family on Maharashtra’s politics.

With this Maratha factor and decreasing the stature of Sharad Pawar in the future, it is also seen that in coming years Sharad Pawar will not remain that active in politics due to aging and after him, his nephew Ajit Pawar and daughter Supriya Sule may not be as effective as him, just like Uddhav and Raj Thackeray are after Bala Saheb Thackeray’s demise. So, the large chunk of Maratha’s vote will be on the side of the Shinde-BJP joint venture. Hence, with this one stroke, BJP has foreseen a bright future in Maharashtra’s dominance for itself.

The other and major target of the BJP was to make Uddhav Thackeray and his Shiv Sena irrelevant in Maharashtra politics. We all know what happened in 2019, so BJP wants to take revenge and with such an impact that in coming years there is only one Shiv Sena and that is Eknath Shinde’s. With more than 2/3 MLAs and must be in the same numbers for the MPs as well, ultimately the Election Commission of India may grant Eknath Shinde the real identity of Shiv Sena and its election symbol.

Now that Eknath Shinde, the real grass-root Shiv Sainik and also a Maratha has become the CM of Maharashtra many Shiv Sainiks who are on Uddhav’s side today may switch sides and come to the Shinde group’s fold. Once that happens Uddhav’s group will be nowhere to be seen.  Next month the elections of BMC and Thane Municipal Corporation elections will be held. With this turn around the BJP-Shinde is definitely winning both the elections. If Uddhav group loses both the municipalities, it will surely be a body blow for Uddhav Thackeray and his coterie. It is told that Shiv Sena breaths on control over BMC.

The insult Uddhav Thackeray made of Amit Shah and the BJP in 2019 is now hunting him back and he has just started to pay the price of it, a huge price for sure because at the end of the day it may erase his political existence.

On the other hand, Devendra Fadnavis has gained a huge political stature and is definitely an enviable future for many politicians of Maharashtra. Don’t mind if in the next decade we see Fadnavis serving the nation by holding a top position in center government due to this ‘sacrifice’.

Mark these words.

2nd July 2022, Saturday

Ahmedabad

SiddTalks

 

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