24 February 2024
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A newspaper advertisement issued on Tuesday by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena faction has put the spotlight on fissures reportedly emerging within the state’s ruling coalition. The ad claimed that Shinde was more popular than his deputy Devendra Fadnavis, the leader of the Sena’s ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Headlined “Modi for India, Shinde for Maharashtra”, the advertisement claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shinde were a “dream team loved by all”. This title was a play on the slogan the BJP used during the 2019 Assembly election to project Fadnavis as the alliance’s chief ministerial candidate: “Kendrat Narendra, rajyat Devendra.” Narendra at the Centre, Devendra in the state.

The advertisement featured photos of Modi and Shinde and had only the Shiv Sena’s electoral symbol.

Citing an opinion survey by Zee TV-Matrize, the advertisement said that 26.1% of the people of Maharashtra preferred Shinde as the chief minister and 23.2% preferred Fadnavis. It added that that 30.2% of the respondents preferred the BJP and 16.2% preferred Shinde’s Shiv Sena faction.

“These numbers show that a total of 46.4% people of Maharashtra trust the BJP and Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena alliance for the state’s development,” the advertisement further read.

As some social media users pointed out, this meant that the…

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Abdul Gh Lone

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