Eknath Shinde, a Maratha by caste, has taken over as Chief Minister of Maharashtra after a hiatus of nearly eight years. The last time, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) withdrew support for the government of Congress member Prithviraj Chavan in September 2014. Of the 18 Maratha CMs to date, Shinde is the 10th.
After the untimely demise of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, the fact that Shinde is a native of Satara district, one of the Maratha strongholds, has quit the dominant group. Sharad Pawar, the most powerful Maratha leader in the state, was the MVA’s creator. The BJP angered the locals by toppling ‘their’ man’s government. However, the fury appears to have abated as a result of the BJP’s selection of Shinde over Brahmin Devendra Fadnavis.
Political observers believe that Shinde will damage the Shiv Sena more than the NCP in western Maharashtra, its bastion. The NCP’s sway over the cooperative sector, particularly the sugar belt, is closely related to its dominance in this area. As a result of the lack of a competent leader, the Shiv Sena has been struggling to remain relevant. Shinde does not directly own any co – operative societies, banks, or mills. However, his choices in the cooperative sector would directly affect whether the Shiv Sena succeeds in the region.