Fadnavis set to be CM; Ajit Pawar Leader of Oppn

The 49-year-old is likely to be sworn in as the chief minister for the second successive term, if everything goes well between the BJP and Shiv Sena. PTI Photo

Much on expected lines, the BJP re-elected high-profile Devendra Fadnavis as its legislature party leader on Wednesday.

The 49-year-old is likely to be sworn in as the chief minister for the second successive term, if everything goes well between the BJP and Shiv Sena. 

Fadnavis enjoys the backing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the RSS.

On the other hand, NCP founder-president Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar was elected NCP legislature party leader.  The 60-year-old Pawar Jr would eventually take over as the Leader of Opposition as NCP has the biggest chunk of legislators from Opposition benches.  On Thursday, the Shiv Sena legislature party would meet under the chairmanship of party president Uddhav Thackeray to elect its leader.

“The mandate is for MahaYuti, as we sought votes for MahaYuti, people also voted for MahaYuti, there should be no doubt, there would be a MahaYuti government,” Fadnavis said, amidst thunderous applause. 

He also thanked Thackeray for the support he received. “He helped us, supported us... I must thank him,” said Fadnavis and also acknowledged the role of other allies, Republican Party of India (Athawale), Rashtriya Samaj Paksha,  Shiv Sangram and Rayatkranti Sangathana.

The BJP leadership has ruled out the post of CM to Shiv Sena fully or on a rotation basis of two-and-a-half years and a 50-50 power-sharing ratio.

But Fadnavis and the BJP top brass is open to giving the post of Deputy CM to Shiv Sena, along with some additional portfolios. 

Fadnavis  dubbed the rumours of ‘alternate formulae’ being worked out to form the state government as “entertainment” - totally rejecting that Shiv Sena would fall prey to the feelers of the Congress and NCP.

“Though there are several rumours floating around in the state about alternate formulae being worked out to form the government, it is more of an entertainment,” he said.

Ever since the results of  Vidhan Sabha polls were out, the Shiv Sena has been mounting pressure on BJP - as they could not meet the target of “abki baar,  220 paar”.

Neither BJP (105) nor Shiv Sena (56) are in a position to form the government alone - even with support of independents and smaller parties.

However, since the NCP (54) and Congress (44) have the ability to help out the Sena in terms of numbers and “interesting possibilities,” there were feelers and Shiv Sena spoke of “other options” - but practically that is not feasible. 

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