In a shocking statement, Karnataka BJP leader Anantkumar Hegde on Sunday revealed why Devendra Fadnavis became Maharashtra Chief Minister for merely 80 hours even as the party knew that it did not have the majority to form the government.

While campaigning in Yallapor in his Uttara Kannada constituency for by-polls on Thursday, Hegde made a startling claim that Fadnavis’ sudden swearing-in as the chief minister was a “drama” to protect Rs 40,000 crore in central funds and return it safely to the Government.

The BJP leader said that a CM has access to around Rs 40,000 crore from Centre and that Devendra Fadnavis knew if Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena alliance government comes to power it would misuse the funds meant for development.

“You all know our man in Maharashtra became CM for 80 hours. Then, Fadnavis resigned. Why did he do this drama? Didn’t we know that we don’t have the majority and yet he became CM? This is the question everyone is asking,” he said.

“A CM has access to around Rs 40,000 crore from Centre. He knew if Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena government comes to power it would misuse funds meant for development. So it was decided that there should be a drama. Fadnavis became CM and in 15 hours, he moved Rs 40,000 crore back to Centre,” Hegde further claimed.

However, former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis immediately rubbished the claims saying, “No such major policy decision has been taken by me as CM. All such allegations are false”.

He said as far as the Bullet Train project is concerned, the Maharashtra government has not given to or taken a single rupee from the Centre and the state’s role is limited to land acquisition.

“Those who are ignorant of the state-Centre accounting systems make such misleading statements. I call upon the state Finance Department to probe the issue and bring the truth before the people,” Fadnavis declared.

Reacting on the development, NCP National Spokesperson Nawab Malik said it is not possible to transfer such a huge amount of money back to the Centre, and added that this is being spread to hide BJP’s defeat in Maharashtra.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut termed the report as “a backstabbing and treachery with Maharashtra”.

Other Sena, NCP and Congress leaders have interpreted Hegde’s statement as “casting serious doubts on the integrity and intentions” of the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi government and condemned it.

After days of speculations about the floor test and the number of MLAs in support with BJP in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis resigned from the post on Tuesday.

Following this, on Thursday, Uddhav Thackeray took oath as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, a development that came after over a month-long political battle in the state. Six other legislators took oath as ministers on the same day at Shivaji Park, Mumbai.

On November 30, the newly formed alliance of Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP, Maha Vikas Aghadi, passed the floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly with a total 169 votes in its favour.

The floor test was done in the absence of the opposition as the BJP staged a walkout, terming the session as unconstitutional.