I will continue working, says Fadnavis; claims fake narrative was `fourth Oppn party' in polls

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Mumbai, June 8 (PTI) Days after he offered to resign taking responsibility for the BJP's poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra, deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday said he would continue to work.

Speaking after a party meeting where state BJP legislators passed a resolution reposing faith in him and seeking that he continue as party leader, he also said that fake narrative acted as another opposition party that the ruling Mahayuti coalition had to fight.

His offer to quit as deputy CM was not prompted by emotions or sadness over the electoral setback, Fadnavis told reporters, adding, "I am not someone who runs away. I fight back....When cornered on all sides, we can rise again with force...this is what we learn from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

"I met Amit Shah (in Delhi) who asked me to continue, and I will do that. We have a strategy. I have already started work (for the assembly elections which are due this year)," Fadnavis added.

The rumour that the BJP intended to change the Constitution hurt the ruling alliance of BJP, Shiv Sena and NCP in the state, he claimed.

"Fake narrative was a fourth (opposition) party in addition to the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi. We realized it after the fourth phase," Fadnavis said, talking about the reasons for the MVA outperforming the ruing Mahayuti alliance.

"Fake narratives have a long life. PM Modi has decided to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Constitution (yet the narrative spread)....," he added.

While the Mahayuti won 17 of 48 seats in Maharashtra, the MVA of the Shiv Sena (UBT), NCP (SP) and Congress won 30. A rebel Congress candidate won another seat.

There was talk of sympathy for Uddhav Thackeray, but his party was "banished" from Thane and Konkan areas where it lost all seats, the BJP leader said.

"In Mumbai, Marathi-speaking voters did not support Uddhav Thackeray. His party won because of the consolidation of votes of a particular community," Fadnavis further said, adding that the Sena (UBT) had a narrow lead in Marathi-dominated assembly segments of Worli, Shivdi, Vikhroli and Bhandup.

The BJP's vote share did not decline compared to 2019, and the saffron party lost 11 constituencies by less than five per cent votes, he noted.

Despite the Opposition's propaganda about industrial projects going to Gujarat, Maharashtra was at the top position in terms of industrial investment, and Gujarat and Karnataka had raced ahead of Maharashtra during Uddhav Thackeray's tenure as chief minister, Fadnavis claimed.

He has asked allies Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar that party spokespersons should exercise caution while speaking, he said, conceding that there were complaints of lack of coordination among the allies. PTI MR KRK