After an ugly war of words between their independent supporters, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis intervened and finally hammered out a reconciliation here on Monday.
The spat between independent legislators Bachhu Kadu, who is founder of the Prahar Janshakti Party and Ravi Rana of the Yuva Swabhiman Party – both hailing from Amravati – came to a point where the former threatened to withdraw support to the Shinde regime if the latter did not withdraw certain allegations, prompting the Shinde-Fadnavis duo to mediate.
Rana had publicly accused Kadu of allegedly taking ’50 Khokhas’ (slang for Rs 50 crore) to switch allegiance with the rebel Shinde group in June after he engineered a split in the erstwhile Shiv Sena and toppled the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
Kadu challenged Rana to prove his allegations by November 1 and even served an ultimatum to Shinde-Fadnavis to clarify if the contentions were true or there could be dire consequences for the government.
While Shinde said that since both hail from the same district, there were local issues which would be sorted out, even as Kadu and Rana called on the CM and Deputy CM independently in Mumbai.
After the meeting, Rana emerged and said: “I withdraw my statement. Even Kadu should do the same.”
Though saying he was satisfied with the outcome of the negotiations, Kadu said he would take a decision in the matter only after consulting his supporters on Tuesday.
Shinde said that all the rebel and other independent MLAs had joined him out of conviction, while Fadnavis, endorsing the same, said that Kadu had gone to Guwahati after he called him up just once.
For the present, the matter has apparently subsided and political sources hint that Kadu may also come around to accepting the understanding with Rana by Tuesday.
Incidentally, Kadu was a Minister in the MVA government led by Uddhav Thackeray and was among the earliest to join the rebel group, while Rana and his wife, MP Navneer Kaur-Rana shot into the limelight in April 2022 for the Hanuman Chalisa row outside Thackeray’s private residence.