Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra on Thursday.
He took the oath along with Shiv Sena leader Eknath Khadse, who was sworn in as the chief minister of Maharashtra. Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered the oaths.
Fadnavis said he took the step on the insistence of the BJP’s senior leadership.
“As a sincere worker of the party, I follow its orders,” Fadnavis tweeted. “The party that allowed me to serve in the highest position – its orders are of great importance to me.”
The newly-appointed deputy to Shinde was replying to a tweet by Union Home Minister Amit Shah who had said that Fadnavis decided to accept the role on BJP chief JP Nadda’s request.
Earlier in the day, Fadnavis had announced that he would not become a part of the government.
“I will stay out of the government and ensure it runs smoothly,” Fadnavis had told reporters, according to NDTV. “We [the Bharatiya Janata Party] are not working for the post of the chief minister, this is a fight of ideologies.”
Soon after his announcement, BJP president JP Nadda said that the central leadership has directed Fadnavis to be a part of the Shinde-led government as the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra.
“He must be [the] deputy chief minister,” Nadda had said, according to NDTV. “I will personally request him.”
Before the announcement, Fadnavis, along with Shinde, had met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to stake a claim to form the government.
On Wednesday, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had resigned as the chief minister. This came after the Supreme Court rejected the Shiv Sena’s plea against Koshyari’s decision asking the Thackeray-led government to face a floor test to prove its majority in the state Assembly.
Thackeray’s resignation came amid a political crisis in Maharashtra that began last week with a rebellion led by Shinde, who had gained the support of several Shiv Sena and Independent MLAs
The rebel MLAs had been demanding that the Shiv Sena should cut its alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress.
On Thursday, Shinde thanked the BJP for making him the chief minister.
“The BJP has 120 MLAs but despite that Devendra Fadnavis didn’t take the post of CM,” Shinde said, according to ANI. “I express my gratitude to him along with PM Modi, Amit Shah and other BJP leaders that they showed generosity and made Balasaheb’s Sainik [party worker] the chief minister of the state.”
Shine also reiterated he has the support of 50 MLAs, including 40 from the Shiv Sena.
“We have fought this battle so far with their help,” Shinde said. “...I will not let even a scratch mar the trust that these 50 people have placed in me, let alone break that trust.”
Shinde also said that he had demanded Thackeray to form a “natural alliance” with the BJP.