Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis are in New Delhi and met President Ram Nath Kovind and defence minister Rajnath Singh earlier in the day. They are likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well.
During a press conference, Shinde said that the Maharashtra government is strong. “We have 164 MLAs while the opposition has just 99,” the CM said, adding: “The existence of our MLAs came under threat under the MVA govt, back then we couldn’t speak that’s why we took the step. It’s only the natural alliance of the BJP and the Shiv Sena that can take Maharashtra forward.”
Fadnavis said the overthrow of his government in Maharashtra in 2019 was an “injustice” that has finally been undone. “Our natural alliance has been revived,” he added.
The meetings on Saturday followed lengthy deliberations over the power-sharing arrangement in Maharashtra between the BJP and the Shinde-led faction of the Shiv Sena at the residence of Union home minister Amit Shah that began late Friday night and stretched till the wee hours of Saturday.
At the five-hour overnight meeting with Shah, the two Maharashtra leaders are learnt to have discussed the broad contours of the power-sharing formula.
“I am confident that under the guidance of PM Modi, both of you will serve the people faithfully and take Maharashtra to newer heights of development,” Shah said on Twitter on Friday night.
The visit of Shinde and Fadnavis to the national capital comes ahead of a crucial hearing in the Supreme Court on July 11 on a petition filed by the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, seeking the disqualification of Shinde and 15 MLAs of his faction from the Assembly.
The Uddhav-led Shiv Sena had 55 MLAs before the split triggered by Shinde’s revolt. Nearly 40 Shiv Sena MLAs had backed Shinde, who also enjoys the support of Independent legislators and MLAs from smaller outfits.
Shinde was sworn in as the chief minister on June 30 with the support of the BJP after he rebelled against Thackeray, walking out of the Shiv Sena with a large chunk of MLAs that led to the fall of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government. Shinde won a trust vote in the Maharashtra Assembly on July 4.
(With inputs from PTI)