Senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi said party executive president Uddhav Thackeray would be his choice for chief minister if the Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance comes to power in the state.
Joshi said this to reporters on Tuesday while interacting with them at a meet-the-press event held in south Mumbai.
“The ultimate decision to select a chief minister will be taken by Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray,” said Joshi. “But I am going to pitch for the name of Uddhav Thackeray.”
Joshi is among the seniormost leaders in the party and his view is considered to be the party’s stand. The BJP, on its part, said it did not have any problem with Uddhav as chief minister.
“We are coalition partners and a decision on who will become the CM will be taken through consensus,” BJP Member of Legislative Council Madhu Chavan said.
Joshi, former Lok Sabha Speaker, said that the Shiv Sena had enough support to contest on its own in the elections. “But the Sena is not a party that will ditch the BJP, its 23-year-old friend,” Joshi said. “We will fight the elections together and win.”
Joshi also compared Uddhav’s popularity to his father’s saying that while Balasaheb was a more urban figure, Uddhav is popular in the rural belts.
Joshi emphasised that the Sena is equally committed to Hindutva and the Marathi manoos. “The Sena will never abandon Hindutva. Balasaheb is known as the real leader of Hindus across the nation,” said Joshi. “But while highlighting the issue of Hinduism, the Sena will also continue its fight for the Marathi manoos.”
Joshi also suggested that parties fighting for Hinduism should come together to ensure that so-called ‘secular’ elements do not benefit from a division of votes.