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Monday,27-June-2022

Maharashtra

80-hour regime: Ajit Pawar, Fadnavis ‘ko gussa kyun aata hai’

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Thirty months after BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar suddenly took oath as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister respectively, in the morning of November 23, 2019, that incident continues to haunt and embarrass them.

Despite their best efforts to chase away the ghost of that clandestine swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan that morning, it keeps popping up frequently in the most unexpected ways — this time raked up by none other than Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray himself at his huge rally on May 14.

Replying to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s criticism, Thackeray declared that he allied with the Congress (and NCP) openly, not in an ‘early morning’ oath-taking ceremony of the 80-hour-long two-man regime — and his words pierced the target.

Willy-nilly, the CM also hinted at the ‘real secret’ behind why the Central probe agencies like the CBI, ED, NCB, I-T and the NIA keep hounding only the Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party leaders for over two years.

The Shiv Sena President thundered saying if the BJP and MNS do not stop their vicious politics, hounding by the Central agencies, lodging false cases against the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government leaders or their families, then “we won’t forgive or spare you”.

“Tomorrow, they will go after Dawood (Ibrahim Kaskar) but if he joins them, he will be made a cabinet minister… If that (2-man govt) ‘experiment’ had succeeded, then people like Anil Dashmukh or Nawab Malik would have been in your good books,” said Thackeray amid applause.

As the MVA government trudges to the mid-way mark in its five year term, BJP’s Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis continues to cry over the spilt milk, his ‘birth-right’ to power that he was unceremoniously deprived of after the 2019 Assembly elections.

The Ajit Pawar-Fadnavis duo has been lampooned and ridiculed since that indiscretion in Raj Bhavan, sans any trappings, but with the drapes drawn tightly to keep off peeping-toms prying at the political hustle enacted that dawn when the groggy state was engaged in its morning ablutions.

Once, displaying rare courage, Fadnavis confessed that “it should not have happened”, and again hammered Thackeray for ‘backstabbing BJP’ to grab power with the help of the Congress-NCP.

Even the much-pilloried Ajit Pawar, painted as a ‘black sheep’, feebly tried to justify the swearing-in event, saying it was not in the early morning as speculated, but “at 8 a.m.”, though later the NCP hugged him and rewarded him with the same post as Fadnavis did for 80 hours!

Wily Uncle and NCP President Sharad Pawar also never missed an opportunity to take a swipe at the dawn ceremony in his characteristic style.

In late-2020, when Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari published a coffee table book, Pawar wrote to him how everything was there in his coffee table book “except a particular swearing-in ceremony”.

Congress state President Nana Patole also took a potshot saying Ajit Pawar was to “explain” it at an appropriate time, but has nothing till date.

“So much water has flowed under the bridge… We 3 parties are now working together, the government is running well… Why do you keep raising it repeatedly,” an irked Ajit Pawar said of that 80-hour fling, Monday.

There have been heated exchanges inside the Maharashtra legislature and outside with the MVA leaders laughing and leering at that morning venture while livid unrepentant BJP leaders shielding it.

Maharashtra

Govt provides ‘Y+’ security cover to 15 rebel Sena MLAs

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 The Union government has decided to provide ‘Y+’ category security cover of armed Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel to 15 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs who have revolted against the Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra.

Sources said that ‘Y+’ category security cover of armed CRPF personnel has been provided to 15 Shiv Sena MLAs which include Prakash Surve, Sadanand Sarvankar, Yogesh Dada Kadam, Pratap Sarnaik, Ramesh Bornare, Mangesh Kudalkar, Sanjay Shirsat, Latabai Sonawane, Yamini Jadhav, Pradeep Jaiswal, Sanjay Rathod, Dadaji Bhuse, Dilip Lande, Balaji Kalyanar and Sandipan Bhumare.

These leaders have joined Eknath Shinde’s camp in the ongoing political crisis in Maharashtra.

The centre’s decision came a day after Shinde in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray alleged that the security cover provided to the family members of the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs had been withdrawn.

The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government had rejected the charges. Shinde claimed to have the support of more than two-thirds of the Shiv Sena MLAs.

Even as the BJP has officially kept itself away from the Shiv Sena’s internal tussle, it is being reported that rebel leader Shinde, who is camping in Guwahati and Maharashtra former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis may have met Union Home Minister Amit Shah at an undisclosed location in Gujarat’s Vadodara.

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Maharashtra

Maharashtra Governor conquers Covid, back home to Raj Bhavan

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Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari returned to Raj Bhavan after conquering a Covid-19 infection for four days, here on Sunday.

Koshyari, 80, was discharged from the Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital in south Mumbai where he was admitted on June 22.

Appearing cheerful as he was welcomed by the Raj Bhavan staff, the Governor said he was feeling “perfectly fine” now – as he prepares to grapple the huge political crisis engulfing the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.

“I got discharged from the hospital after four days. I am perfectly fine now. However, I have been advised to rest for a couple of days more. I would like to thank all my well-wishers,” tweeted Koshyari.

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Maharashtra

Will set up separate block of Shiv Sena: Rebel MLA Deepak Kesarkar

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Asserting they are still part of the Shiv Sena, one of the rebel MLAs Deepak Kesarkar on Saturday said the dissident legislators would be setting up a separate block of the party.

In a press conference here at Radisson blu hotel where he has been camping along with 40 other rebel Shiv Sena MLAs, Kesarkar, speaking on behalf of the rebels and their leader Eknath Shinde, said they are still part of Shiv Sena, and aiming to take a different direction for which they have the desired majority.

“At this point, we are not merging with any other party as we respect (Maharashtra Chief Minister) Uddhav Thackeray. We will be setting up a separate block,” he told reporters.

“If our faction does not get the recognition, to prove our numbers we will go to the court,” Kesarkar said, adding the rebel MLAs won’t quit the Sena rather will carry on the legacy of “Balasaheb”.

“This is nothing but a constitutional struggle. We are not leaving the ideology that Balasaheb lived on. We didn’t do anything illegal or wrong.”

He also said there can be no Shiv Sena without Uddhav Thackeray.

Referring to the incidents of attacks on residences and offices of the rebel MLAs in Maharashtra, Kesarkar said: ”We also want to tell the Chief Minister to fulfil the constitutional responsibility he has and ensure that the violence is stopped. The MLAs are not feeling safe to return as no stern action is being taken against the perpetrators.”

Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday told reporters: “I have nothing to say about Maharashtra politics… Assam will not deal with the matter of Maharashtra.”

“There are many guests staying in all the hotels of Guwahati, like in Taj, Novotel, etc. People are coming to Assam for many reasons. Also, the Assam government is not supposed to pay the bills of any guests coming to Assam. Maharashtra is neither a poor state nor the MLAs are… so why would the Assam government pay their bills?”

Sarma further said: “One can file an RTI to know about the hotel expenditures. This is our job to provide security, the comfort of staying to anyone who has come from outside to the state.”

Meanwhile, the Assam units of Shiv Sena and NCP staged a protest against rebel MLAs outside the Radisson Blu hotel.

They were later removed from the spot.

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