Mumbai:   In a unexpected political twist, Shiv Sena’s rebel group leader Eknath Shinde was on Thursday announced as the Maharashtra Chief Minister, heading a government supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

BJP leader and former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis made the stunning announcement after calling on Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari along with Shinde this afternoon.

“We have submitted a list of entire BJP MLAs, the Group led by Shindeji, 16 independents and others, with more joining us, to the Governor, ” he said.

Shinde will be sworn-in alone as the CM at 7.30 p.m. and later on, the cabinet will be expanded to accommodate MLAs from both sides.

Shinde, on his part, said he would work for the progress and development of the state which had “practically halted” since the past 30 months of the previous government and reiterated that he would follow the ideals of Bahasaheb Thackeray’s Hindutva.

He also thanked the BJP and Fadnavis for their large-heartedness in supporting his prospective government.

Fadnavis said: “I will remain out of the government, but I shall do everything possible to make the new government a success on all fronts, and resume the developmental activities that had stopped in the past two and half years.”

Earlier, in the past 9 days, the rebel camp had repeatedly asserted that while Fadnavis would return as Chief Minister, Shinde would be the Deputy Chief Minister, but the latest developments put to rest all the claims.

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