In his remarks in the Maharashtra Assembly after winning the floor test, Shinde said that while PM Modi and Union Minister Amit Shah Gave him all possible help during the rebellion, it was the Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Who was the “biggest Kalakar (artist)” of the rebellion.
“Our numbers were less (compared to BJP) but PM Narendra Modi blessed us. Modi sahib had told me before taking oath that he would help me in every possible way. Amit Shah sahab said that he will stand behind us like a rock.
“But the biggest Kalakar (artist) is this,” said Shinde, pointing to Fadnavis, who is sitting on the Treasury bench to his right.
“We used to meet when the MLAs of my group were sleeping and returned (Guwahati) before they woke up,” Shinde said.
Pointing to Fadnavis, Shinde said, “He who arranged everything is here.”
Praising the former chief minister’s political skills, Shinde said “no one knows what he will do and when”.
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Shinde’s remarks in the assembly confirmed how Fadnavis played an active role behind the scenes when dozens of rebel Shiv Sena MLAs were hiding in resorts first in Surat and then in Guwahati.
As the MLAs of his group were camping at a luxury hotel in Guwahati late last month, there were reports that Shinde had a secret meeting with Fadnavis after reaching Gujarat from Guwahati.
Reports claimed that before dawn, Shinde was back at the Guwahati hotel where he was camping with 40 MLAs who had turned against the MVA government in Maharashtra.
Was suppressed for a long time: Shinde
Shinde, who gave an emotional speech in the assembly, said he was suppressed for a long time and the rebellion under his leadership was a result of the unfair treatment meted out to him.
In his first speech after securing the trust vote, Shinde referred to his roots as a Shiv Sena worker.
Shinde, MLA from Thane city, said, “I am and will remain a staunch Shiv Sainik. I alone had closed 16 women bars in and around Thane. I have around 100 different criminal charges registered against me.”
“I am a very calm person and I can assure you that there will be no retaliation even if our own party members use abusive words against us. When we went to the Kamakhya temple in Guwahati, it was said that 40 bullocks (male buffalo) will be sacrificed. Now, who was sacrificed,” he asked without naming former CM and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray.
Amidst the political crisis, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had said that “40 dead bodies will come back from Guwahati”.
Shinde revealed that she was offered the deputy chief minister’s post during 2014-19 amid rising tensions between the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena, but the Shiv Sena categorically refused as it was against him becoming the deputy chief minister.
Shinde also said that he had made up his mind to resign (as a minister in the erstwhile BJP-Shiv Sena government), but was supported by then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Shinde’s rebellion with a section of Shiv Sena MLAs last month culminated in the fall of the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government. Shinde took oath as Chief Minister on June 30, succeeding Devendra Fadnavis as Deputy Chief Minister.
(with inputs from PTI)