Shinde returns from Delhi with a four-point strategy for Maharashtra
<br>Shinde accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, during the two-day visit to Delhi on Friday and Saturday, met President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP National President J.P. Nadda, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Though both, Shinde and Fadnavis, claimed in a joint press conference that they had come here (Delhi) to seek the blessings of senior leaders and that the state cabinet would be discussed in Mumbai itself. But, it is being said that during the meeting with Amit Shah and J.P. Nadda, there was also a discussion on the distribution of portfolio, and the Shinde cabinet may be expanded next week.
The BJP and the Shinde-led faction of the Shiv Sena are awaiting the Supreme Court's stand on Uddhav Thackeray's petition, which is to be heard on July 11. Following this, the progress on cabinet expansion will gain momentum.
The real test of Shinde, who claims to be the true heir to Balasaheb Thackeray's legacy, is to work aggressively at multiple levels and take the Shiv Sainiks (Shiv Sena workers) along. Further, the biggest challenge before Shinde is to establish his indivdual identity and move out from the shadow of the BJP or rather Fadnavis as the common Shiv Sainik of Maharashtra wishes to see a leader like Balasaheb Thackeray.
Along with Shinde, the BJP high command is also well aware of the political situation in the state. Therefore, during Shinde's visit to Delhi, top BJP leaders have given a clear political message that the leader of the Maharashtra government is Eknath Shinde and he too has been advised to "act" as the leader of the state.
Fadnavis, after the meetings in Delhi, clearly stated that he is with Shinde. The former Chief Minister also announced, "Eknath Shinde is our leader and Chief Minister... We will work under his leadership."
He said that his first objective is to make this government successful and this government would complete its term.
After getting the message and the political power from the BJP high command, now Shinde's biggest goal is to "defeat" Uddhav Thackeray in Maharashtra and prove his faction as the real Shiv Sena at every level.
It is being said that Shinde, who returned to Maharashtra with a "guru mantra" from Delhi, will try to weaken Uddhav Thackeray's political ground in the coming days with the help of issues related to Hindutva, Underworld, Maratha reservation and development.
Shinde has said that he has not rebelled, but there has been a revolution within the party.
"We are following the ideals of Balasaheb Thackeray. He taught us to stand against injustice. We cannot go with those who rejected Balasaheb's Hindutva," he added.
Shinde also claimed that he is the real Shiv Sena leader, and that the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker has given recognition to his faction. Remembering Balasaheb, he said that Balasaheb was against underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, but "Uddhav Thackeray could not take any action against Dawood Ibrahim, even his two ministers had relations with Dawood".
During the Delhi tour, Shinde also met the Solicitor General. Responding to a question about the reason for the meeting, Shinde said that he discussed Maratha reservation during his meeting with the Solicitor General.
It is certain that the fight to prove the real Shiv Sena will definitely reach the Election Commission and the Supreme Court; and Shinde will fight this battle with full force, but at the same time, he would also have to fight this battle with same strength to strengthen his position in the organisation and electoral politics of Maharashtra. In this battle, it is also certain that the BJP will support Shinde, and perhaps this might be the reason, the BJP high command had directed Fadnavis to become the Deputy Chief Minister at the very last moment.