Shinde and Fadnavis Set Aside Ad Controversy, Reunite on Stage to Discuss Strong Bond

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis put aside their differences and flew together in a helicopter on Thursday for a joint event.

The leaders aimed to reaffirm their alliance’s commitment and expressed their strong bond, following a recent controversial advertisement that sparked controversy.

Their public display of unity signifies their determination to move forward and work together for the betterment of Maharashtra.

A war of words had started between the Shiv Sena and the BJP over a newspaper advertisement that projected Shinde as being more popular in the state than his deputy Fadnavis./

The full-page advertisement, which also had a picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, appeared in major newspapers in the state on Tuesday, citing a “survey” that showed Shinde was ahead of Fadnavis in popularity, fuelling talks about a possible rift among the two allies whose government will complete one year in office on June 30.

It did not have the pictures of either Fadnavis or Shiv Sena founder late Bal Thackeray.

After not attending any official functions together for two days since the row over advertisement broke out, Shinde and Fadnavis on Thursday shared the stage during an event in Palghar district.

Both the leaders landed together in a helicopter for the event, ‘Shasan Aplya Dari’ (government at your doorstep).

Shinde said the alliance between the two parties was neither for selfish motives nor for power, but for ideology.

“This government works on the ideology of Balasaheb Thackeray, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Pramod Mahajan, Gopinath Munde and now under the leadership of PM Modi,” the CM said.

He said attempts were made last year to create hurdles in the Sena-BJP alliance, “wut we overcame it and the alliance emerged stronger following which a government that people wished for was formed.

Irrespective of what anyone says, there will be no rift between us as this government follows one ideology, Shinde said.

“The friendship between me and Fadnavis is not new…it is 15-20 years old. The bond between us is strong, which will not break. Some call it a ‘jodi’ of Jai-Veeru (famous characters from film ‘Sholay)…, he said.

Referring to the advertisement, he said his government is the preferred choice of people and “I am happy that in the survey 84 per cent people favoured PM Modi for the country’s top post.”

“We are not in the race for chair or power. Neither Devendra, nor I have any greed. As earlier, we are activists and will remain so even tomorrow. Power has not gone to our head and we are still remain grounded. Our government works on field and does not operate in work-from-home or Facebook live mode,” he added.

Shinde said during the erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, development had come to a standstill, but his administration has now removed all speed-breakers coming in way of  progress.

“In the last one year, we have taken all decisions aimed at the welfare and progress of people belonging to all sections. Ours is government is pro-people and it is getting support from all quarters,” Shinde said.

Speaking on the occasion, deputy CM Fadnavis said the Sena-BJP government was development oriented.

“The state saw a change in power one year ago. As against the previous government, which worked from home, the present dispensation comes to your doorstep. Looking at the development works being carried out at fast pace by this government, the opponents are suffering from stomach ache,” he said.

On travelling together in a helicopter for the event, he said, “Both of us have been together since the last 25 years and in the last one year our bond has become stronger. No one needs to bother about our journey. We were together yesterday, are together today and will remain so tomorrow,” he said.

Fadnavis sought to downplay the controversy generated by the newspaper advertisement.

“Because of one advertisement or some comments by anyone there will be no rift in the government. It is not the previous government where each leader caught hold of other’s neck over who will speak first,” the deputy CM said.

The two leaders travelled together in one chopper but came to the venue in separate cars from the helipad.

Fadnavis said the Shiv Sena and the BJP were in an alliance for 25 years and would remain together in future as well.

Shinde said his government has removed all speed-breakers coming in the way of infrastructure projects.

“In the last one year, we have taken all decisions aimed at the welfare and progress of people belonging to all sections. Ours is government is pro-people and it is getting support from all quarters,” Shinde said.

A day after the advertisement became a talking point, another ad on the state’s ruling alliance appeared in Marathi dailies on Wednesday featuring leaders like Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray and Fadnavis.

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