Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Monday dismissed Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan’s claim that Ajit Pawar would be appointed as Chief Minister in August to replace Eknath Shinde.
Mr. Fadnavis said that Ajit Pawar is well aware of the fact that he will not be the Chief Minister and was informed about it during the meeting held before July 2.
Responding to Mr Chavan’s claim that senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar, who is part of the state government, would be appointed as the Chief Minister around August 10, Mr Fadnavis said the Cabinet could be expanded by that date and nothing else.
“As the leader of the single largest party in the ‘Mahayuti’ (Grand Alliance), I am officially telling you that Ajit Pawar will not be the Chief Minister of Maharashtra,” Mr Fadnavis told reporters on the premises of the Vidhan Bhavan.
When the ‘Mahayuti’ meetings took place (before the NCP party was inducted into the government on July 2), Ajit Pawar was given a clear picture that he would not get the chief minister’s post, the BJP leader said.
He insisted that Eknath Shinde would remain the chief minister and there would be no change.
Mr. Fadnavis also claimed that Ajit Pawar was given a clear picture about the power-sharing formula and he agreed to it.
“He (Ajit) not only agreed to it, but also made it clear in his speech that there is no talk of a change of guard in Maharashtra,” he said.
Mr. Fadnavis rejected Prithviraj Chabon for spreading rumours.
“They should stop misleading people about ‘Mahayuti’. Leaders are not confused but party workers are. People like Prithviraj Chavan are spreading rumours. If anything happens by August 10, it will be the expansion of the state cabinet. The chief minister will take a call on it,” he said.
Ajit Pawar and eight Nationalist Congress Party MLAs joined the Shiv Sena-BJP government on 2 July. While Ajit Pawar was sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister, MLAs were sworn in as Ministers. Later, the important finance department was allotted to Sharad Pawar’s nephew.
Mr. Shinde said that Ajit Pawar’s entry into the government posed no threat to him.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and appeared on a syndicated feed.)
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