[Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in Vaijapur, Aurangabad Saturday.]
Aurangabad: Chikkalthana Airport in Aurangabad 01 am Sunday was re-opened to make arrangement for the late-night landing of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s plane.
Eknath Shinde was on two-day tour of Nashik and Aurangabad districts starting Saturday. He attended a series of events in Malegaon and later went to Vaijapur en-route to Aurangabad for his scheduled program on Sunday. He however cut short his visit and rushed to New Delhi on Saturday.
No details of his sudden change in program were made public. However, sources close to the Chief Minister said Shinde had to rush to Delhi to discuss the cabinet expansion plan with top BJP leaders pending since June 30 when he took oath as Maharashtra Chief Minister along with Devendra Fadnavis, his deputy.
Eknath Shinde became Chief Minister of Maharashtra after leading a rebellion against former Maharashtra CM and Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray.
It is believed that the central and state leaderships of the BJP were behind the entire operation to overthrow the MVA government in Maharashtra.
The government however is being run without a cabinet and just by two men – Chief Minister Shinde and Deputy CM Fadnavis.
Sources said the cabinet expansion is put on hold because of the bunch of petitions filed in the Supreme Court of India. A hearing on these petitions is slated to be held on Monday August 01.
Other version of Eknath Shinde’s sudden visit to Delhi taking round in the political circles is that Shinde was called to the National Capital to attend a meeting with BJP leaders regarding the petitions in the Supreme Court that also included suspension of 16 Shiv Sena rebels. Any unexpected ruling by the SC could collapse the Shinde government in Maharashtra, sources said.
Meanwhile, local MLA Tanaji Sawant and others present at the Chikkalthana Airport in Aurangabad to see-off Shinde to Delhi Saturday said the Chief Minister will be back in Aurangabad and attend the scheduled programs in the district Sunday.
“The Chief Minister will return to Aurangabad at 02 am Sunday and will attend all the scheduled programmes in the city and district”, he told the media.
The Airports Authority of India upon learning that Shinde’s plane is landing in Aurangabad at 02 am rushed the officials to make the necessary arrangements as the Chikkalthana Airport normally closes its operation at 10 pm.
Sources said last minute changes were made and the watch tower lights were turned on at 01 am Sunday.
“The airport is ready to receive the Chief Minister. Further changes will be made as per the late night instructions received if any. The plane may arrive in the morning hours too”, they said.
Eknath Shinde was supposed to air-dash to Delhi on July 27. He had however cancelled his plans in the last minute without citing any reason.
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