On June 15, 2023, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Eknath Sambhajirao Shinde, along with Devendra Fadnavis travelled together in a helicopter for an event as they reaffirmed their commitment to take forward their alliance and spoke about their strong bond after a controversial advertisement.
A war of words began between the Shiv Sena and the BJP over a newspaper advertisement that projected Shinde to be more popular in the state than his deputy Devendra Fadnavis.
The full-page advertisement that included PM Narendra Modi appeared in major newspapers in the state on June 13, 2023, citing a survey that showed Shinde much ahead of his deputy politically and fuelling talks about a possible rift among the two allies whose government would complete one year on June 30, 2023.
It did not contain pictures of Fadnavis or the Shiv Sena founder (Bal Thackeray). After not attending official functions together for two days since the row over advertisement broke out, Shinde and Fadnavis shared the stage during an event in Palghar District.
Shinde said that the alliance was based not on selfish motives or 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 Narendra Modi,” the CM said.
He said that several attempts were made to break the alliance between Shiv Sena and the BJP, but we overcame it, and the alliance emerged stronger, following which a government that people wished was formed.
“Irrespective of what anyone says, there will be no rift between us as this government follows this 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 Jai-Veeru (the famous duo of Sholay Movie),” he said.
Referring to the advertisement, he said that his government is the preferred choice of the people, and I am very happy that in the survey, 84 per cent of the people favoured PM Modi for India’s top post.
“We are not in a 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 up to our heads and will remain grounded. Our government works in the field and does not operate like Work From home and Facebook live mode,” he said.
Shinde said that during the erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi government, the development had come to a standstill. But now his administration has destroyed all the speed breakers coming in the way of progress.
“In the last year, we have taken all decisions aimed at the welfare and progress of the people belonging to all sections. Our government is pro-people, and it gets support from all the quarters,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Deputy CM (Maharashtra) Fadnavis said that 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 is at the doorstep. Looking at the development works that are being carried out at a fast pace by this government, the opposite parties are facing stomach-ache,” he said.
On travelling together in a helicopter, for the event, he said, “Both of us have been together for several years (last 25 years), and in the last year, our bond has become stronger. No one needs to bother about our journey. We are together today and remain so tomorrow.”
Fadnavis sought to downplay the controversy generated by the newspaper advertisement. “because of one advertisement, or some comments made by anyone, there will be no rift in the government where each leader caught hold of the other’s neck, and who will speak first,” he said.
The two leaders travelled in a helicopter but came to the venue in different cars from the helipad. Fadnavis said that the Shiv Sena and the BJP were in alliance for 25 years and will remain together in the future as well.
Shinde said that his government projects have removed all the speed breakers coming in the way of infrastructure projects. A day after the advertisement became a talking point, another advertisement on the state’s ruling alliance appeared in Marathi dailies on June 14, 2023, featuring leaders like the Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray and Fadnavis