Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and new Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis' famous pre-election prediction "Mee punha yaeen, Mee punha yaeen, Mee punha yaeen (I will return!)" sparked off some fizzy humour in the special session of the assembly, leaving members on both the treasury and opposition benches in splits.
In his speech, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray took friendly jibes at Fadnavis, now sitting in the opposition benches, and said: "I have never proclaimed that 'Mee ithe yaeen' (I will come here), but by fateful circumstance, I have come here (as the CM)."
He added that he was truly fortunate, as "those who were our friends once are now in the opposition and those who were our foes are now our allies".
"Fadnavis ji, we were friends once and shall always remain so... I have learnt a lot from you. But, in your past five years as CM, I never betrayed you or created any obstacles in your work. But, if we had been together, then I would have been watching today's proceedings live on television at home!" Thackeray said, broadly suggesting that allying with the BJP again would have been disastrous for the Shiv Sena.
Nationalist Congress Party leader and Minister Jayant Patil also took a few digs at Fadnavis, saying: "He had promised 'Mee punha yaeen', but never indicated where he would be 'sitting'. Now for the next five years, you don't make any attempts to come this side (ruling). So, your appointment as Leader of the Opposition is quite apt."
He called how in 2014, the BJP legislators had elected Fadnavis as the CM, but this time, the very same BJP MLAs had chosen Fadnavis over Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil (the former Congress Leader of Opposition, now with the BJP).
"Vikhe-Patil is still our man... There's no distance between... We can pull him back," Patil said in a veiled hint that many former Congress-NCP leaders who had left to join the BJP could make a 'ghar-wapsi' and further truncate the BJP.
Replying to the caustic felicitations that had members on both sides in splits several times, Fadnavis said that though he had forecast he would return, he had not indicated any time frame for it, implying he could bid for power again, and the ruling Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress beware!
"I thank you all, and Uddhav ji. Most people made nice speeches about me here. But, some of their statements reminded me of the (Amitabh Bachchan-Mausi's) dialogue in "Sholay" film - 'Ladka to accha hai, par'. Those who were in the opposition once, they are now in the government. But, such things keep happening in a democracy," he said.
Despite the fiasco of an 80-hour two-member government, Fadnavis reiterated his intention to return to power again, but this time with a slight poetic twist in the tale: "That's why I had said 'Mee punha yaeen'... 'Mera paani utarta dekh, kinare pe ghar mat banao, Main samunar hoon, lautkar zaroor aaonga' (Don't build your homes on the shore seeing the receding waters; I am an ocean, I will return)."
Addressing Patil's specific jibes, Fadnavis said that if the Maha Vikas Aghadi functions in the interests of the people of the state, the opposition would always support it unflinchingly.
However, if the government failed to function and fulfill the public aspirations, then he warned that the opposition would not think twice before toppling it.
All the good-natured humour and banter on both sides came to end as it was time for Governor B.S. Koshyari to deliver his address to the maiden sitting of the legislature later this evening, preceded by the unopposed election of Congress leader Nana F. Patole as the Speaker and later Fadnavis in his new post.