Not announcing its chief ministerial candidate seems to be part of the Shiv Sena’s strategy to take one step at a time, keeping in mind its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“The time has not yet come to decide on the issue. I have not yet given this any thought,” Uddhav told the media last week. However, in a Narendra Modi style presentation that was projected on a large screen, he revealed his vision for the city.
While Uddhav skipped the issue of his candidature, his party MP Sanjay Raut, senior leader Subhash Desai and former CM Manohar Joshi made an emphatic demand for it.
Sources said Uddhav’s move is part of a larger strategy. Uddhav Thackeray is likely to announce a vision for the state, on the lines of his vision for Mumbai. This will be presented to promote himself as a pro-development leader Shiv Sena will begin negotiating with the BJP on the
“Uddhavji feels declaring his candidature for the chief minister’s post will be a foolish step, and can damage the BJP-Sena alliance. We need each other to win the polls in Maharashtra. The first step will be seat-sharing,” said a Sena leader close to Uddhav, requesting anonymity.
The numbers game between the Sena and BJP is another tricky affair, which means seatseat-sharing formula. The outcome of this will determine the Sena’s next steps For now, the Sena is keen on retaining the 20-year-old formula of contesting 171 seats in the state, while the BJP contests 117. sharing talks could hit some hurdles before being finalised.
Until the 2014 general elections, the Sena contested 171 seats in the state and the BJP, 117. However, the outcome of the recent Lok Sabha elections is likely to see the BJP asking for more seats in the state. For now, the Sena will not part with its share.
“There is no doubt that if the Sena gets more seats than BJP, Uddhavji will be our CM. He [Uddhav] need not contest the polls as he can become a member of the upper house anytime,” said MP Vinayak Raut.
MP Anil Desai, a close Uddhav aide, said making an announcement of candidature would be damaging for the Sena.
“It is true that we all want to see Uddhavji leading the state, but we are in an alliance with the BJP. Any decisions will be made after consultations between leaders of both parties,” Desai said.
The growing clamour for Uddhav to be declared CM candidate is not going too well with the BJP. State BJP president Devendra Fadnavis took a direct dig at Uddhav: “It is expected for senior leaders to not behave in a manner that could create a rift or misunderstanding between old partners.”