The newly appointed Prime Minister of Maharashtra faces his first mission. It’s a way to maintain an equal position with the former powerful Deputy Prime Minister. Eknath Shinde (58 years old) and Devendra Fadnavis (6 years junior) were colleagues in the state cabinet for five years, at which time Fadnavis was in command of the state government.
The Cinde faction is in power over the Bharatiya Janata Party, but a strange series of events with Fadnabis, who was widely believed to be the next prime minister on Thursday, revealed that he came out of the Cinde-led government. First announced and then forced to be part of it, raising questions about the chain of commands. By ensuring that Fadnavis joins the government on behalf of Cinde, it will be checked and balanced not only for Cinde but also for Fadnabis.
When Shiv Sena came to power in 2014, Cinde was one of the five Senna ministers in the Fadnabis cabinet. Cinde was the Minister of Public Works (public works), but Fadnabis was seen as the person who moved the ministry forward. The largest project undertaken by the Maharashtra Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) under Cinde’s jurisdiction was the Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddi Highway, a pet project in Fadnabis.
Shiv Sena’s high-ranking leader has announced that Sind and Fadnavis weren’t at their best in the early days. Their political confrontation emerged in the 2015 elections for the Karyan Don Bibari Municipal Corporation (KDMC), which was run separately by Senna and the BJP. It was in this struggle that Sind publicly offered to resign as minister while giving a speech at the Uddhav Thacke campaign rally.
“But when it comes to planning and implementing the Rs. 550 billion Samruddy highway project, they were repairing the bridge,” said Senna’s leader. The Greenfield Project, which includes a 701km restricted road connecting the state capital and the winter capital, was first opposed by Shiv Sena in a Saamna editorial in May 2017. The editorial claimed that government machinery was being abused to acquire farmland for the project. Cinde later argued that party leaders were not opposed to the project itself, but merely to protect the interests of the farmers. Eventually, Shiv Sena passed and the road was renamed the Hindu Ride Samrat Barasaheb Saccharai Samruddi Highway to commemorate the late Shiv Sena Supremo.