By Quaid Najmi
Mumbai, Oct 12 (IANS): Bharatiya Janata Party's Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday declared that he still feels he is the "Chief Minister" of Maharashtra owing to the immense love and affection showered on him by the people of the state.
Speaking at a public event in adjoining Navi Mumbai, Fadnavis -- who faced ridicule for his throaty 'Mee Punha Yaeen!' (I will return!) rant before the October 2019 assembly polls -- again went into a self-patting mode, which had the Opposition in splits and taking potshots.
"The people of the state have never made me feel that I am not the CM, I still feel that I am the CM, I have not been sitting at home I am working very hard and touring all over the state for the past two years. But the people's love and respect has not waned," Fadnavis proclaimed.
He added that a person's work counts more than his position and claimed that he was serving the people and doing his duty as the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly well without a single day off in the past two years.
After this, the ruling MVA allies got up to react and suggested 'urgent medical treatment'. Even BJP's senior leader Pankaja Munde took a swipe at Fadnavis' dreamy-eyed utterances.
Shiv Sena leader Kishore Tiwari, accorded MoS rank, said that "Fadnavis is still under severe depression, that's why he's roaming around the state aimlessly after he got the BJP defeated."
"His ramblings also confirm that since people have already forgotten his lacklustre tenure as CM, he has to somehow keep reminding them in this manner now. We hope the BJP will arrange for his appropriate mental and physical treatment immediately," Tiwari said.
NCP's National Spokesperson and Minister Nawab Malik said the shock of his 2019 defeat has affected Fadnavis badly, so "he's unable to grasp the current reality that the MVA is in power since two years now".
"Moreover, he must realise that even the post of Leader of Opposition is as important as that of the CM and he should sincerely work hard to live up to it," Malik advised.
Congress state Spokesperson Sachin Sawant commented that it is well known that Fadnavis was not prepared for the "unimaginable bolt" by the MVA government two years ago.
"In such cases, there can be such reactions arising out of the deep mental shock, the person starts hallucinating, and must be given medical attention on priority. Already two years have lapsed, take care in future," Sawant said.
On the other hand, BJP leader and former ministerial colleague Pankaja Munde said dismissively that "if someone feels he is still the CM, it was fine" by her.
To a more specific query, Munde -- who had once said that she was reigning as the CM in people's hearts -- said that people's emotions need not change by someone's utterances.
During 2014-2019, Fadnavis became and served a full term as the first BJP CM of the state, heading a coalition with the Shiv Sena.
After the 2019 elections, the Sena unceremoniously dumped the BJP and Fadnavis was aghast to see Sena President Uddhav Thackeray hug the NCP-Congress for the tri-party MVA alliance.
Moving swiftly and dramatically to pull the rug from under the MVA, Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar were sworn-in as the CM and Deputy CM respectively in an early morning ceremony, shocking the nation, but the two-man government crashed in barely 80 hours.
Thereafter, a full-fledged MVA government with Thackeray as the 19th Chief Minister took office on November 28, 2019, and despite hiccups has managed to remain stable for the past 24 months.