Mumbai, Jul 23 (IANS): Creating a major flutter in Maharashtra politics, state Bharatiya Janata Party president Chandrakant Patil said that it was "with a heavy heart" that his party decided to make rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde the Chief Minister last month instead of Devendra Fadnavis.
His comments came at the BJP state executive meeting in Panvel town of Raigad district on Saturday, sparking a furore in political circles.
"We have made Shinde the CM, instead of Fadnavis (now the Deputy CM), with a heavy heart... We had to give a stable government and to convey a message. We have digest that agony and now move ahead with joy," said Patil.
The Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena, with support from the BJP, toppled the Maha Vikas Aghadi government headed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray last month.
Patil also lauded Fadnavis' role as the ex-Leader of Opposition and how he constantly exposed the "misdoings" of the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress alliance for the past two and half years.
Attacking Patil, Shiv Sena spokesperson Kishore Tiwari said that the BJP has finally opened up about its dislike for Shinde and how they were compelled to support him owing to political compulsions.
"Shinde is clearly put on notice period. The BJP will tie a mill-stone around Shinde's neck at the first opportunity, take away his rebel legislators and dump him unceremoniously. Then, the Shinde and rebels will view the true face of BJP," he said.
NCP chief spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said Patil has blurted out the truth since he has realised that "this government of Shinde-Fadnavis" is illegal and unconstitutional.
"The future of this regime hinges on the Supreme Court verdict... It may fall later, that's why BJP says it had to put a stone on its heart and make Shinde the CM," said Tapase.
Targeting Patil, Congress chief spokesperson Atul Londhe said that its "the people of the state who are tolerating this illicit government with a heavy heart" and indicates that Shinde could face a bleak future.
"After the SC judgement, it's quite possible that the masses will throw stones at this government, which is completely paralysed, with no cabinet expansion for 24 days and no relief in the rain havoc which has killed over 100 people so far," he said sharply.
In his address, Fadnavis slammed the MVA government and accused it of an "undeclared Emergency" in the state with all development activities coming to a standstill during its tenure.
He alleged that the MVA only indulged in politics of vendetta against the opponents, and claimed that the government change was inevitable to help put the state back on the course of progress and development.