Former union minister and BJP MP Anantkumar Hegde has claimed his party colleague Devendra Fadnavis was made Maharashtra chief minister last month despite lacking majority only to ‘protect’ Rs 40,000 crore central funds under the CM’s control from being ‘misused’.
Days after Fadnavis resigned barely 80 hours after taking oath for the second time as chief minister, Hegde, known for making controversial statements, sought to give a new twist to the episode describing the government formation by the BJP as a ‘drama’ played out to ensure that the funds meant for development works were ‘protected’.
“You all know that recently in Maharashtra for just 80 hours our person was Chief Minister, but soon Fadnavis resigned. Why did we have to do this drama? Didn’t we know — despite knowing we don’t have majority, why did he become the Chief Minister? This is the question commonly every one ask,” Hegde said.
Addressing a gathering, reportedly during campaign in bypoll-bound Yellapur in Uttara Kannada district on Saturday, he said, “More than Rs 40,000 crore was under Chief Minister’s control. If NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena had come to power certainly that Rs 40,000 crore would not have gone for development work and would have gone for different things (misused).”
“It was entirely planned earlier itself. Once we got to know (about three parties forming government) it was decided that a drama has to be played out. So, adjustments were made and oath was taken (by Fadnavis as Chief Minister), after oath within 15 hours Fadnavis systematically ensured that it (money) reaches where it had to and protected it,” the BJP leader said, speaking in Kannada.
The entire amount was given back to central government, or else certainly the “next Chief Minister would have...you know what would have happened...,” he added.
Fadnavis responded to Hegde’s remark, according to ANI, and said, “No such major policy decision has been taken by me as CM. All such allegations are false.”
Fadnavis was sworn in by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on 23 November for a second term after midnight developments where NCP’s Ajit Pawar had revolted against his party and propped up the government with BJP.
However, three days later, Fadnavis resigned as chief minister ahead of the floor test, admitting he does not have the numbers shortly after his deputy Ajit Pawar quit the government.
Subsequently, on 28 November, Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray took oath as the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra, heading an unlikely alliance of the Sena, the NCP and the Congress.
(With PTI inputs)