24 February 2024
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A day after the politics of Maharashtra made new twists and turns leading the Eknath Shinde camp to worry about its future in the government, the chief minister met Sena lawmakers to assuage their concerns.

The entry of Ajit Pawar into the Shiv Sena-BJP government has triggered apprehensions among the Shinde camp with many objecting to the newly-made alliance and worrying over Pawar’s elevation in ranks.

Shinde, who presided over a meeting of Shiv Sena MLAs, MLCs and MPs on Wednesday, was kept in the loop about the fast-paced developments in the NCP which culminated in Ajit Pawar taking oath as deputy CM along with eight other ministers on July 2 in a stunning turn of events.

Many Sena lawmakers reportedly pointed out that founder Balasaheb Thackeray would have never joined hands with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

To make things more uncomfortable for Eknath Shinde, Shiv Sena (UBT) has been slamming him with the rhetoric, tweeting an old video of Shinde where he criticised Chhagan Bhujbal. “Now you are sitting on Chhagan Bhujbal’s lap. What will you say now?” the caption read.

Amid the changed politician equation, Shiv Sena MLAs and MPs on Wednesday night attended a meeting at Shinde’s official residence ‘Varsha’ in south Mumbai.

“The BJP wants to weaken the MVA (alliance of NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena) with the trio of Shinde, Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar. We want to fight both Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in 2024 under this leadership. We think it’s a formidable force,” a party leader said according to Indian Express.

Shinde said there was nothing to worry about as “the BJP and the Shiv Sena have been in the government for a year now and the NCP (faction led by Ajit Pawar) joining the government will not affect its functioning in any way,” a Shiv Sena MLC said.

With the induction of nine ministers from the Ajit Pawar camp, the strength of the Shinde-Fadnavis cabinet has gone up to 29, leaving 14 posts still vacant.

With inputs from agencies

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Abdul Gh Lone