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Sunday, Aug 18, 2019

Sharing power equally means sharing post of CM too: Aaditya Thackeray

Thackeray, the son of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, said he would contest the Assembly elections if the people of Maharashtra wish him to do so.

mumbai Updated: Jul 21, 2019 00:27 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times
Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray at Trimbakeshwar Temple in Nashik on Saturday.
Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray at Trimbakeshwar Temple in Nashik on Saturday. (Pramod Thakur/HT)

Shiv Sena leader and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray, who is currently on a state-wide Jan Ashirwad Yatra ahead of the Assembly elections, on Saturday said equitable power means sharing all posts, including chief ministership. Thackeray, the son of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, said he would contest the Assembly elections if the people of Maharashtra wish him to do so and the decision on his candidature would be taken by the end of the tour, indicating he would be willing to take up the top job in the state.

Excerpts from an interview.

Sena leaders have expressed they want to see you as the next Maharashtra CM. Are you ready to take up the top job in the state?

I am not aiming for any top post. I am seeking Maharashtra’s views on what it wants. I am thankful to all those who voted for us. The Jan Ashirwad Yatra is also aimed at winning the hearts of those who haven’t voted for us. That is my first responsibility now. Sena leaders expressing their wish to see me as the CM…that is their blessing. However, the endorsement [to become the CM] will have to come from the people.

What prompted you to consider the plunge into electoral politics? It’s a diversion from your family’s tradition.

I’ve never said no to the possibility — be it any responsibility in the state or in the government, or be it getting elected as a legislator — because primarily, I love this field. It gives me 100% satisfaction. At the end of the day, a single decision can impact a million lives, or a billion in our country. So this is the field where I can serve people in the maximum way possible. In that sense, I’m listening to what Maharashtra is telling me…if they want me to contest the election and repose their faith in me, or if they want me to take up any post…which [the decision] will only happen at the conclusion of the tour...

The decision on whether you’ll contest or not will be taken at the end of this tour?

Absolutely, because it is the people who will have to tell me. I’ll be serving them in whatever capacity they see me in.

There is also an argument that you do not have the experience — never held a public office or been an MLA. How do you respond to it?

Last time there were elections I couldn’t contest because I was 24; I was one year short of the age for contesting. For the past 10 years, I’ve been trying to take the party to every nook and corner of the state and even outside it. Be it farmers’ issues, or students’ issues, or women’s safety, there are so many matters we tried to tackle, including roads across the state, schools, improvement of hospitals. We have not just been taking up issues, but also finding definitive time-bound solutions.

There are a lot of talks about the split of the CM’s post. CM Devendra Fadnavis, when he announced the alliance, had said that posts will be shared equitably. Will there be a Sena CM for 2.5 years?

I am nobody to speak about a matter which the two party presidents have decided on. Uddhavji, Amitji and the honourable CM have said there will be equitable distribution and sharing of power and posts. The statement is self-explanatory. I am too small to speak about this when two party presidents have decided it.

...You were in the room when the discussion happened. Are you certain Sena would get the CM post?

That’s what was said in the press conference. Equitable sharing of power and post includes all posts and power.

BJP leaders have been making statements about the CM post being with them and about seat-sharing. Is there any conflict on the two points?

For the party cadre of both the sides, it is important to trust our party presidents who’ve decided equitable power and post-sharing. Both parties would want their wishes to come true, but finally when party presidents have decided, it is for us to leave the matter to them.

Will the Sena contest 144 seats in the upcoming election?

That again is up to the party president to decide. My job is to get as many candidates to win as possible, as that’s what I am here to do.

The Sena wants karz-mukti (freedom from loan) and not karz-maafi (loan waiver) for farmers. How do you plan on doing it?

Karz-mukti is liberation, while karz-maafi is to acquit someone. I think one has to look at the larger picture. Finance [for the karz-mukti plan] can be raised through various means. We have done it for infrastructure projects. When we take up big infrastructure projects in the city we also have to remember our
annadata, who is giving us food. There will be a time when agriculture will be given the status of an industry in Maharashtra. When you have to create sustainability in Maharashtra, you have to cater to the farmers; give them an equal status and voice.

What are some of the long-term measures the Sena is looking at to tackle agrarian crisis in the state?

We must liberate the farmers from the vicious cycle of farm loans and then start off with things like irrigation and drip water system. The rainfall in Maharashtra is not uniform. So there are things you’ll have to invest in if you want results in the next 20 years. It’s not just sustaining a generation of farmers today, it is about sustaining the environment. There will be long-term measures coming in as well. A new way of farming has to be created. Drip irrigation, as I said, is important. We must take irrigation from heavy rainfall areas to lesser rainfall regions. I have proposed rainwater harvesting system in catchment areas of Mumbai-Pune expressway and Mumbai-Nagpur expressway because there is a lot of rainfall in these areas…this can be diverted to other areas. For cities, we can look at desalination. Water is a resource you cannot create, but you can create political desirability over it. Water has to be looked at with paramount importance— both, its conservation and distribution.

You’ve spent nearly a decade in public life, led the youth wing, and were elevated as a Sena leader last year. What has been your biggest challenge and learnings in the last nine years?

Biggest service is to reach out to people. There is always scope for more. The youth today are not afraid of questioning the authority. I want people to question the set notions and to bring a change in the society. It’s going to be a two-way process. I want their dreams, aspirations and questions to be established in the ethos of the working style of the Mantralaya.

First Published: Jul 21, 2019 00:26 IST

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