Devendra Fadnavis Reverses Resignation Decision, Pledges to Continue Serving as Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister

Days after announcing his intention to resign, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has reversed his decision, stating he is not going to run away. This change of heart follows a request from Amit Shah for him to continue serving the Maharashtra government.

At a BJP legislators’ meeting on Saturday, Mr. Fadnavis, a former chief minister, whose party’s representation in the Lok Sabha has dwindled from 23 seats in 2019 to just nine, expressed optimism. “I can see happiness on everyone’s faces. PM Narendra Modi’s name is resonating globally, and yesterday, the NDA confirmed him as Prime Minister. Today’s meeting was crucial. Although we didn’t secure as many seats as we hoped in Maharashtra, we are planning our future strategy starting with this meeting,” he said.

Explaining his initial decision to resign, the deputy chief minister stated, “I led the BJP in this Lok Sabha election, so I felt responsible for the defeat. I requested to leave my post to work at the grassroots level for the Vidhan Sabha elections. However, the top leadership showed faith in me. Some believed I was disheartened, but I am not going to run away. Our inspiration is Chhatrapati Shivaji. This is not an emotional decision; I have a strategy in mind.”

Mr. Fadnavis met Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday, following an NDA meeting that reaffirmed Narendra Modi as the alliance leader, paving the way for his third consecutive term as Prime Minister. Mr. Shah reportedly urged Mr. Fadnavis to remain in his role and begin preparations for the Maharashtra Assembly elections, anticipated around October.

Discussing his meeting with the home minister, Mr. Fadnavis said, “I met Amit Shah. I am not going to sit quietly for even a minute. Mr. Shah shared the same view.”

Addressing the reasons for the Mahayuti’s poor performance—which includes the BJP, Eknath Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena, and Ajit Pawar-led NCP—Mr. Fadnavis noted that despite winning only 17 out of Maharashtra’s 48 Lok Sabha constituencies against the Maha Vikas Aghadi’s 30, the opposition had only polled 200,000 more votes, yet the seat difference was significant.

Prior to the elections, the opposition effectively leveraged the BJP’s “ab ki baar 400 paar” slogan and claims by some NDA leaders about aiming for 400 Lok Sabha seats to amend the Constitution. Mr. Fadnavis admitted this had negatively impacted the party.

“A narrative was created within the Dalit and tribal communities. This will not happen in the next election. PM Modi honored the Constitution before being elected NDA leader,” Mr. Fadnavis said.

Furthermore, Mr. Fadnavis highlighted the narrative built around the Maratha community’s reservation demand, a long-standing political issue in the state. “Since 1980, those who opposed Maratha reservation received votes. But this won’t continue,” he asserted. He also refuted claims that industries had shifted out of Maharashtra during his tenure, emphasizing that more such losses occurred under Uddhav Thackeray’s leadership from 2019 to 2022.

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