Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena (UBT), Saamana, Ajit Pawar, Eknath Shinde
"Today I am saying this in front of the camera, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra is going to change," said Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena (UBT)'s MP. (File photo)

Ajit Pawar will replace Shinde as CM, 16 rebel Sena MLAs will be disqualified: Raut

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Shiv Sena (UBT)’s MP Sanjay Raut on Monday (July 3) said that Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar, who was sworn in as the second deputy chief minister of Maharashtra on Sunday (July 2), would replace Eknath Shinde as the Maharashtra chief minister soon.

Raut said the 16 rebel Shiv Sena MLAs would be disqualified, and Shinde would lose the CM’s position.

“Today I am saying this in front of the camera, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra is going to change. Eknath Shinde is being removed. Eknath Shinde and the 16 MLAs are going to be disqualified,” Sanjay Raut told news agency ANI.

“The BJP is breaking the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress but this will not benefit them (BJP) at all. In Maharashtra, we will fight the 2024 polls together. It is shocking that PM Modi had said that the leaders of the NCP are involved in corruption and now those leaders have taken oath in Raj Bhawan,” he said.

Ajit Pawar did not join Eknath Shinde govt for deputy CM post: Saamana editorial

In an editorial in the party’s paper Saamana, Uddhav Thackeray’s group said that Ajit Pawar did not join the Eknath Shinde-led government for the deputy CM post.

“Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and rebel MLAs of the Sena will be disqualified soon and Pawar will be made the chief minister,” it claimed.

Also read: Mother of democracy at work! First attack corrupt, then embrace them: Kapil Sibal’s dig at BJP

“This new development will not go down well with the people of the state. The state had no such political tradition and it will never be supported by the people,” it said.

The editorial went on to say that those who had quit the Shiv Sena blaming the NCP and then finance minister Ajit Pawar for not releasing funds to party MLAs for development work, had now joined forces with the person they had blamed.

“Their so-called Hindutva is now over. The day is not very far when Shinde and his rebel colleagues will be disqualified. This is the true meaning of Sunday’s development,” said the editorial.

The editorial also slammed Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, who had said the BJP would never join hands with NCP, “the party of corrupts” and that Ajit Pawar was facing allegations in an irrigation scam worth ₹70,000 crore.

Also read: NCP moves disqualification notice against Ajit Pawar, 8 others; says he’s not backed by 36 MLAs

BJP leader Narayan Rane responded to the Saamana editorial and said the government would remain strong and Shinde would remain the chief minister till 2024. The Maharashtra assembly elections are due to be held next year.

(With inputs from agencies)

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