Speaking to the media at the end of the Assembly session on Saturday, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis took a jibe at Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. He termed Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar as the ‘proxy CM’. Maintaining that he would not judge Thackeray because it was his first Assembly session, Fadnavis claimed that Pawar was running the show throughout.
At the same time, he expressed hope that the Shiv Sena chief would spend more time in the Assembly and reply to the opposition during the debates from the next session onwards. Furthermore, the BJP leader observed that the Maharashtra CM did not require his party’s guidance as he could seek advice from senior NCP and Congress leaders. According to Fadnavis, the government’s performance merited only 15 out of 100 marks.
Devendra Fadnavis remarked, “I will give 15 out of 100 marks for the performance of the government. As far as the Chief Minister is concerned, I will not judge him as it is his first Assembly session. Proxy CM (Ajit Pawar) was running the show. But I expect that in the next session, he should be in the Assembly for a longer. At least, he should respond in the debates. Because for whatever reasons, the Chief Minister did not respond even a single time during the debates. He may have given some statements.”
He added, “Ajit Pawar is there to guide him. Sharad Pawar is there to guide him. Sonia Gandhi is there to guide him. Rahul Gandhi is there to guide him. In Maharashtra, there is Balasaheb Thorat. That’s why he does not need to seek our guidance.”
The BJP-Shiv Sena combine secured a comfortable majority in the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections. However, they were unable to form the government as the BJP refused to accept Shiv Sena's demand of the rotational CM. As per Uddhav Thackeray, the BJP leadership had given a promise in this regard, a claim which was subsequently refuted by Amit Shah and Devendra Fadnavis.
However, Fadnavis sprung a surprise on November 23, 2019, by taking oath as the CM again with the support of Ajit Pawar who was sworn in as the Deputy CM. They resigned after the Supreme Court order directing an immediate floor test as the NCP MLAs reposed their loyalty in Sharad Pawar. Thereafter, Shiv Sena joined hands with NCP and Congress to form the MVA government on November 28, 2019, under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray.