- Amit Shah described as "Chanakya" by BJP after Maharashtra coup
- Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as Chief Minister of Maharashtra today
- Ramdas Athawale says BJP taught a lesson to Shiv Sena
Amit Shah, Union Home Minister and BJP chief, was described as "Chanakya" by his party on Saturday after the Maharashtra coup, in which Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as Chief Minister with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP's) Ajit Pawar as his deputy just hours after a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance seemed set to take power.
The Shiv Sena, which broke up with long-term ally BJP over its demand for rotational chief ministership, has been outmanoeuvred for now. The BJP had been largely silent when the Sena, NCP and Congress were trying to stitch an ideologically conflicting alliance.
"@AmitShah has once again proved that he is the real Chanakya of Indian politics," tweeted the BJP's Sushil Modi, the deputy Chief Minister of Bihar. Last night, NCP chief Sharad Pawar - Ajit Pawar's uncle - had announced that the alliance was on track and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray would be Chief Minister.
Everything changed between 9 pm and 8 am. "A political surgical strike," as Uddhav Thackeray called it.
Sources say the parties had been unable to agree on the Speaker's post and had decided on more talks on Saturday.
BJP leader Bhupendra Yadav, a close aide of Amit Shah, was silently despatched to Mumbai, sources say. He worked as the media spotlight remained on the Sena-NCP-Congress.
Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar reached an agreement a little before midnight. Within minutes, a call went to Amit Shah.
At 2.10 am, when Devendra Fadnavis, Bhupendra Yadav and Ajit Pawar in Mumbai and Amit Shah in Delhi were awake, the Secretary to the Maharashtra Governor was told to submit revocation of President's Rule order.
Sources said the BJP wanted the swearing in to begin at 6.30 am but they were told the arrangements could only begin in the morning, so the party asked for an hour's delay.
On October 24, when the Maharashtra election results were declared, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah had addressed a traditional post-election victory gathering at the party headquarters in Delhi. "The coming five years under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis will take the development of Maharashtra to greater heights, I hope so. Haryana and Maharashtra were not the traditional states of the BJP, yet such a mandate is the result of sincere public service by both the Chief Ministers," PM Modi had said on Devendra Fadnavis and his Haryana counterpart ML Khattar.
The Prime Minister had made it clear that Devendra Fadnavis would be Chief Minister again.
When it became a reality early on Saturday morning in the most extraordinary way, the BJP said the PM and Amit Shah had delivered on their promise that Mr Fadnavis would return as Chief Minister.
Another BJP ally, Union Minister Ramdas Athawale, also tipped his hat to Amit Shah. "BJP taught a lesson to Shiv Sena. Amit Shah was saying that all will be well," he said, recalling his conversation with the Home Minister.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjwala, in a sharp tweet, alleged that Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had acted on Amit Shah's instructions. "It has been proven that the BJP has taken a contract to kill the country's democracy. The Governor has once again proved to be (BJP chief Amit) Shah's hitman," he tweeted.