BJP offer to Eknath Shinde: Deputy CM, key cabinet berths
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has offered rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde the same deal it offered Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Ajit Pawar in 2019 – the post of deputy chief minister – if he and his fellow dissenters bring about a change in the Maharashtra government, a senior party leader aware of the discussions said on Wednesday.The deal involves similar number of ministerial berths on offer as it was in 2019, when, after a fractured election mandate, former BJP chief minister Devendra Fadnavis made an attempt to ally with then NCP rebel Ajit Pawar to form a government that lasted 80 hours.“Shinde’s revolt now is similar to Ajit Pawar’s revolt in 2019. Pawar had taken the oath as deputy chief minister and was assured a sizable number of ministerial berths. The Shinde group is expected to get a maximum of 12 berths, similar to what the Shiv Sena was given during Fadnavis government until 2019,” the BJP leader said on condition of anonymity.“Shiv Sena, which had 63 members in the lower house then, was given just five berths of ministers and seven of minister of state level after tight negotiations for days. The Shinde group may not be more than 45 members in size and thus, is unlikely to get more than what Sena got in 2014,” this person added.In 2019, Ajit Pawar failed to engineer enough defections to beat the anti-defection law after taking oath, eventually returning to the party.