Focus on people than saving govt: Modi to Fadnavis

Focus on people than saving govt: Modi to Fadnavis

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given his piece of advice to his blue-eyed Devendra Fadnavis who was sworn in as Maharashtra’s first BJP chief minister on Friday.

As negotiations continued between the BJP and the Shiv Sena for inducting Sena ministers, Modi told Fadnavis: “Just remember, saving your government is less important than saving your state and its people from the current economic morass. You do your best to impress people and then they will give the full support you need.”

The thrust of Modi’s message, BJP officials say, is that more than actual numbers on the floor of the House for the government to survive, Fadnavis’ performance and his earnestness to tackle issues that afflict Maharashtra will matter more.

Modi’s directive means Fadnavis’ priority as CM should not be just to please all ministers and legislators and keep the show going but rather act in a decisive manner to win over people’s confidence so that in the event of a political crisis, the BJP can go back to voters for a comfortable majority on its own, BJP insiders say.
Handpicked by Modi, Fadnavis has to lead a government that will have to depend on a recalcitrant Shiv Sena and a diminished NCP that is offering unsolicited “outside” support for “tactical reasons” to avoid fresh elections now.

The BJP with 121 seats needs at least 24 more to win the vote of confidence in the 288-member House. The party had originally won 122 seats but one of its MLAs died after the results were announced, bringing down the tally to 121. The party has now claimed support of all seven independent MLAs and some from smaller parties.

The Shiv Sena, with 63 seats, is supposedly BJP’s natural partner. However, after its 25-year-old ties with the Sena split, the BJP did not take chances. It got an offer of outside support from the NCP, which has 41 seats. The NCP has said that it would abstain during the trust vote to help the BJP government.

Even so, the BJP indicated it wants an alliance with the Sena. With Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray being persuaded to attend the huge swearing-in on Friday, there were indications of a thaw.   “Uddhav Thackeray’s attendance today was a big gesture. Talks are moving in the right direction,” Fadnavis said after he was sworn in.

“I am in the process of developing the office of the chief minister on the lines of the Prime Minister’s Office where a set of select bureaucrats assist the ministers in case they are not able to carry out certain tasks,” Fadnavis told reporters in Mumbai.

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