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Eknath Shinde, Devendra Fadnavis call President Kovind; To meet PM Modi


Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his Deputy Devendra Fadnavis met President Ram Nath Kovind and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh here on Saturday.

The meetings followed lengthy deliberations over the power-sharing deal in Maharashtra between the BJP and the Shinde-led faction of the Shiv Sena at the residence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah which began late Friday evening and continued until the wee hours of Saturday.

Shinde started his day by offering floral tributes to the statues of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, BR Ambedkar and Mahatma Jyotiba Phule at Maharashtra Sadan here. Shinde and Fadnavis then traveled to Rashtrapati Bhawan for a meeting with Kovind, their first after taking office on June 30.

The two leaders then had a meeting with the Minister of Defense at his residence. Shinde and Fadnavis, who took office on June 30, a day after then-Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray left in the face of a massive rebellion, are also due to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday.

During the five-hour nightly meeting with Shah, the two Maharashtra leaders got to discuss the outlines of the power-sharing formula between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shinde-led faction of the Shiv Sena.

“I am confident that under the leadership of Narendra Modi, you both will faithfully serve the people and take Maharashtra to new heights of development,” Shah said on Twitter on Friday evening.

Shinde and Fadnavis’ visit to the nation’s capital comes ahead of a crucial Supreme Court hearing on July 11 on a petition filed by the Shiv Sena, led by Thackeray, seeking the disqualification of Shinde and 15 members of his faction from the Assembly. .

“We have confidence in the judiciary,” Shinde told reporters here on Friday, saying the group he leads had the support of two-thirds of Shiv Sena lawmakers.

The Shiv Sena had 55 MPs before the split sparked by Shinde’s revolt. Nearly 40 Shiv Sena MPs had backed Shinde, who also enjoys support from independent lawmakers and MPs from smaller parties.

“The president has also granted us recognition,” Shinde said, referring to the decision by newly elected Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar.

Shinde was sworn in as chief minister on June 30 with BJP backing after rebelling against Thackeray, leaving the Shiv Sena with a slew of MPs that led to the downfall of Maharashtra government Vikas Aghadi. Shinde won a vote of confidence in the Maharashtra Assembly on July 4.

(Edited by : Sangam Sing)

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