JP Nadda in Aap Ki Adalat: BJP president JP Nadda for the first time revealed the behind-the-scene story that led to Eknath Shinde becoming the Maharashtra Chief Minister and Devendra Fadnavis becoming his deputy. JP Nadda who appeared on the country's most popular show 'Aap Ki Adalat' on Saturday where he faced the tough questions of India TV Editor-in-Chief Rajat Sharma also spoke about the Shiv Sena split.
Nadda while talking about Maharashtra's political musical chair where in a surprise move, Eknath Shinde was made the CM said, "It did happen. But the horse was not decked up for Fadnavis to ride as the groom. The atmosphere was such that Eknath Shinde had to be made the CM. 'Yeh tay tha' (It was pre-decided)."
When asked why did he force Fadnavis to become the deputy CM as it was Nadda who phoned him, while the former CM was addressing the press conference, Nadda replied, "He had not made up his mind to become CM (unhone man nahin banaya tha CM banne ka), but we felt, he was an experienced leader... knew much about Maharashtra. His staying in the cabinet will be better, because of his status. Eknath Shinde was made the CM, and Devendra was asked to become the Deputy CM. In this, I would like to praise Devendra, because he straightaway agreed, without any reservation or objections, as a party worker. He said, this is your order and I accept and he took the oath of deputy CM."
On being asked whether there was any path left for a rapprochement with Uddhav Thackeray and for both the Shiv Sena groups to unite, Nadda replied, "I do not think so. I do not think such a situation will arise, because the atmosphere is such. We have to move ahead, and our agreement with them (Shinde group) is good. We will stay together."
Nadda also outrightly rejected Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray's charge that the BJP had promised two and a half years of rotational rule, but later backtracked. The BJP chief said, "This is totally untrue that BJP deceived him. During the elections, Fadnavis was projected as the CM candidate from every platform. The election was being fought under his leadership, and the slogan was 'Delhi me Narendra aur Maharashtra me Devendra'. None of the Shiv Sena leaders sitting on the dais objected. But after the elections, they allied with Sharad Pawar and Congress. They did not speak to us. He wanted to become CM. His (Uddhav's) greatest ambition was to become CM and his life's ambition was being fulfilled. It was he who backstabbed us. This has been their character (yeh unka charitra raha)."
Here are a few excerpts:
Rajat Sharma: But you made a Shiv Sainik the CM. You could have made Uddhav the CM, the problem could have been solved.
Nadda: But he never said this (that he wants to be CM). Secondly, we wanted Devendra as the CM in our pre-poll alliance. The alliance with Eknath Shinde was a new one, and so, he became the CM."
Rajat Sharma: Look, Shiv Sena was becoming smaller, and BJP was expanding. They were fearing their party may be gobbled?
Nadda: "It is not my job to teach or advise them. They should see why their base is narrowing down. To become bigger, they will have to do on their own. As for BJP, we will not stop from expanding our base."
Rajat Sharma: Their base was getting narrowed, but you made them smaller by breaking away 40 of their MLAs.
Nadda: Whose job was it to save the family? They were doing well when they were with us. Maharashtra was getting back on the track of progress. Corruption was being reduced, the government was serving the people. Our alliance was for the public good. He was supposed to look after his flock. If he keeps his ministers waiting for hours, stop talking to your party colleagues, if you do politics by maintaining a distance, then what can we do?
Rajat Sharma: They are alleging, there were only 7-8 MLAs with Shinde, rest of the MLAs were bought by Devendra offering 'khokha' (Rs 1 crore)?
Nadda: Losers always try to invent excuses.
Rajat Sharma: Devendra's wife Amrita said, Fadnavis used to wear a black coat and spectactes at night to meet MLAs?
Nadda: This may be her statement, but when a deal is struck, matters are kept secret. Talks are held in secrecy. I have not heard Fadnavis wearing black spectacles. You don't need to do this in Mumbai. They can sit at any centrally located place and meet.
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