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“People taunt that it’s an ED government. Yes, it’s an ED government, of Eknath-Devendra,” — Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis employed some wordplay in the assembly today, using Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s name and his own, to counter the charge that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was misused to effect the change in government.Opposition MLAs earlier shouted “ED, ED” when rebels from Uddhav Thackeray’s Sena supported Eknath Shinde during the trust vote, which he won 164-99, increasing the winning margin from the Speaker’s election held yesterday. Some of these MLAs or their families are facing investigations by the ED, an agency under the BJP-led central government. Besides addressing the chants with a counter-jibe, Mr Fadnavis underlined that a BJP-Shiv Sena pre-poll alliance had received the mandate in 2019, “but majority was deliberately taken away from us”. He was referring to Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena having chosen to ditch the BJP to form the government in a pact with the Congress and NCP — a government that fell last week after Eknath Shinde led a mutiny in the Sena.”With Eknath Shinde, we have once again formed our government with Shiv Sena. A Shiv Sainik has become the CM,” he said, underlining Mr Shinde’s claim that his faction is the real Shiv Sena.”I became Deputy CM as per my party’s command,” added Mr Fadnavis, a former chief minister. “I would have even sat at home had the party told me to. The same party that made me a CM.”He also addressed the jibes he’s been facing over his “I-will-return” claim before the 2019 state polls. “I have been trolled severely for my remark that ‘I will return’. I am going to take revenge against the trolls by forgiving them.” Without naming Uddhav Thackeray, Fadnavis claimed that Maharashtra had a “deficit of leadership availability” in the last few years. “But there are two leaders in the House now, who will always be available for people,” he said, referring to Mr Shinde and himself.

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