Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Fadnavis Reverses Resignation Decision, Reaffirms Commitment to Government

During a BJP legislators’ meeting on Friday, Fadnavis, a former Chief Minister, addressed the assembly with a blend of optimism and strategic foresight. Despite the party’s reduced strength in Maharashtra, where it won only nine of the 48 Lok Sabha seats compared to 23 in the 2019 elections, Fadnavis emphasized a forward-looking approach.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced his decision to stay in office, just days after declaring his intention to resign. Fadnavis’s change of heart follows a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah, who urged him to continue his work for the Maharashtra government.

During a BJP legislators’ meeting on Friday, Fadnavis, a former Chief Minister, addressed the assembly with a blend of optimism and strategic foresight. Despite the party’s reduced strength in Maharashtra, where it won only nine of the 48 Lok Sabha seats compared to 23 in the 2019 elections, Fadnavis emphasized a forward-looking approach. “I can see happiness on everyone’s faces, PM Narendra Modi name is ringing out across the world and, yesterday, the NDA agreed on his name as Prime Minister. Today’s meeting was very important. We could not get as many seats as we wanted in Maharashtra this time, but we are planning our future strategy, beginning with this meeting,” he said.

Fadnavis clarified his initial decision to resign, attributing it to his sense of responsibility for the BJP’s electoral performance. He explained, “I had led the BJP in this Lok Sabha election, so I said I am responsible for this defeat. I had asked to be allowed to leave my post so that I could work at the grassroots for the Vidhan Sabha elections. But the top leadership showed faith in me. Some people thought that I was disappointed, but I am not going to run away. Our inspiration is Chhatrapati Shivaji. I have not taken any emotional decision, I have a strategy in mind.”

After the NDA meeting that reaffirmed Narendra Modi as the alliance leader, Fadnavis met with Amit Shah. Shah’s advice was clear: Fadnavis should remain in his role and start preparations for the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections, anticipated around October. “I met Amit Shah, and we agreed on not wasting a single minute. I am fully committed to my duties,” Fadnavis shared.

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Addressing Election Performance and Future Strategies

Fadnavis also addressed the factors behind the Mahayuti alliance’s underwhelming performance. The coalition, which includes the BJP, Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena faction, and Ajit Pawar’s NCP, secured only 17 of Maharashtra’s 48 seats, while the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi won 30. Fadnavis highlighted that although the opposition garnered just 200,000 more votes, the seat disparity was substantial.

Reflecting on campaign missteps, Fadnavis acknowledged that the BJP’s ambitious slogan “ab ki baar 400 paar” and statements about amending the Constitution had backfired. “A narrative was prepared in the Dalit and tribal society. This will not happen in the next election. PM Modi worshipped the Constitution before being elected the leader of the NDA,” he said.

He also addressed the Maratha community’s reservation demands, a longstanding issue in Maharashtra politics. “Since 1980, whoever opposed Maratha reservation got votes. But this will not last,” Fadnavis asserted.

Contrary to allegations that industries were relocating from Maharashtra, Fadnavis pointed out that such losses were more pronounced during Uddhav Thackeray’s tenure as Chief Minister from 2019 to 2022. He emphasized the state’s ongoing efforts to retain and attract industries.