With the Maharashtra assembly elections just a month away, the whiff of a likely win has intensified the tussle over the chief minister’s post in the saffron alliance.
While Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said on Saturday his party would get the top job in the state, ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) maintained that the outcome of the October 15 polls would decide who gets the chief minister’s post.
Thackeray, who has till now avoided expressing his chief ministerial ambitions, on Saturday told the Aaj Tak news channel that he would not shy away from the responsibility although he was not dreaming of being the chief minister. “When the country wanted a change, Narendrabhai (Modi) came forward. Now, it is Maharashtra’s turn, and the people here, too, need a face when they go out to vote,” he said.
Uddhav’s stand makes it clear why he is opposed to the BJP’s demand for more seats. The BJP has been mounting pressure on the Sena to rework the existing seat-sharing agreement, but the Sena leadership is not too keen as they know that the party which contests more seats will have better chances of bagging the chief minister’s post.
A factional feud has broken out within the BJP, with at least five top BJP leaders — including state BJP president Devendra Fadnavis, Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari, Opposition leaders in the Council and Assembly Vinod Tawde and Eknath Khadse — projecting themselves as the next CM.
Meanwhile, in an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece Saamana, on Saturday said, “excessive lust leads to divorce” and asked the constituents of ‘Mahayuti’ alliance to exercise restraint while demanding extra share during seat allocation talks. Citing a recent court verdict, the party said, “All parties must give up the lust for more seats. To say we will stay in the coalition only if we get ‘so many seats’ is not right,” the editorial said.
The remarks are being considered a veiled criticism of BJP amid reports that the latter had sought more seats to contest this time around.