Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde taking oath of office as the 20th Chief Minister of Maharashtra, in Mumbai on June 30, 2022.
Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde taking oath of office as the 20th Chief Minister of Maharashtra, in Mumbai on June 30, 2022.IANS

Eknath Shinde sworn in as 20th Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis is Deputy CM

Mumbai, June 30, 2022

Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde was sworn in as the 20th Chief Minister of Maharashtra and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis as the Deputy Chief Minister here this evening, bringing the curtains down on the ten-day-old political crisis in the state.

The two were administered the oaths of office and secrecy by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Raj Bhavan this evening.

In a surprise move earlier in the day, Fadnavis, a former Chief Minister and the person most people expected to assume that position again this time, announced at a press conference that Shinde would be the Chief Minister. He went on to say that he would not be part of the government.

But a short while later, the BJP said Fadnavis would take oath today as Deputy Chief Minister.

The rest of the Council of Ministers will be sworn in in the coming days, once the two parties finalise the names.

Today's swearing-in ceremony came a day after Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray, deserted by most of the MLAs of his party and several of his Ministers, resigned as Chief Minister late Wednesday night, opting not to face a floor test ordered by the Governor on Thursday.

Thackeray submitted his resignation to Koshyari late on Wednesday, shortly after announcing in an address over social media his decision to quit as Chief Minister as well as a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC).

The resignation brought to an end nine days of political drama that began with a large number of Shiv Sena MLAs led by Shinde rebelled against him, travelling first in a group to Surat, Gujarat and then Guwahati in Assam, reducing his 31-month-old Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to a minority in the Assembly. The group claimed it had the support of 40 Shiv Sena MLAs and about ten others -- independents and members of small parties.

Thackeray went ahead with his move to resign from the Chief Minister's post after the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday evening that he would have to face a floor test in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Thursday, as directed by the Governor.

On a day of fast-paced developments, the BJP decided to support a minority government headed by Shinde from outside.

Later, following directives of the BJP top brass like its president J. P. Nadda, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Fadnavis finally agreed to join the new regime as the No 2 and Deputy CM.

The rebel MLAs had moved from Guwahati by a chartered flight to Goa yesterday night and were staying in a five-star hotel there.

Shinde arrived in Mumbai today and he and Fadnavis went to meet the Governor.

"We have submitted a list of all BJP MLAs, the group led by Shindeji, 16 independents and others, with more joining us, to the Governor," Fadnavis told the media after the meeting.

Shinde, on his part, said he would work for the progress and development of the state which had "practically halted" in the past 30 months of the previous government and reiterated that he would follow the ideals of Shiv Sena founder Bahasaheb Thackeray's Hindutva.

He also thanked the BJP and Fadnavis for their large-heartedness in supporting his government.

At the press conference, Fadnavis had said, "I will remain out of the government, but I shall do everything possible to make the new government a success on all fronts, and resume the developmental activities that had stopped in the past two-and-a-half years."

In the past nine days when the crisis was brewing, the rebel camp had repeatedly asserted that Fadnavis would return as Chief Minister and that Shinde would be the Deputy Chief Minister but today's developments came as a big surprise to many.

(With inputs from IANS)

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