Newly sworn-in Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Tuesday, 5 July, that it was his idea to make rebel leader Eknath Shinde the new chief minister.
The dissident Shiv Sena camp led by Shinde had toppled the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government last week after Uddhav Thackeray stepped down as chief minister on 29 June ahead of a floor test.
Amid speculations that BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis would be the new CM, Shinde was appointed to the post in an unexpected turn of events while Fadnavis became the deputy CM on 30 June.
Fadnavis also admitted to not being mentally prepared to even become Deputy CM. However, he said that he had agreed to it after a discussion with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and an intervention by BJP president JP Nadda and Union home minister Amit Shah.
"I changed my decision obeying the orders of my leaders," he added.
The BJP leadership, according to him, believed that it was necessary for him to be part of the government so as to not leave everything to an "extra-constitutional authority".
Fadnavis said that while the BJP-Sena alliance had won the 2019 elections, their mandate was "stolen" later that year.
Following this, his party and the Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction came together for a "common ideology and not for power."
'With BJP for Hindutva and Development': Shinde
Meanhwhile, Shinde, while appreciating Fadnavis's appointment, said that he had shown a "big heart" in agreeing to become his deputy.
Taking a swipe at Uddhav's Thackeray's comments, he also said that the "autorickshaw had left the Mercedes behind", in an interview with ANI.
Thackeray had earlier said that the BJP government had referred to the MVA government as a "three-wheeler government" but now a person from there was running the government. He accused Shinde of backstabbing him.
Shinde, however, said that he had held several discussions with the Uddhav Thackeray Government about not benefitting from the MVA.
"Despite our party's CM, we came at number 4 in Nagar Panchayat (polls)...We tried but we didn't succeed (in making him understand)," he said.
He said that he had sided with the BJP because of their "agenda of Hindutva and development".
He won the floor test in the state Assembly, on Monday, 4 July, with 164 MLAs siding with him in a 288-member house.
(With inputs from ANI)