Willing to align with Sena in 2019 polls, it’s up to Uddhav to decide: Fadnavis

As his government completes three years in power on October 31, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said the saffron allies will have to work together to run the state government. His message to Uddhav Thackeray was that playing a dual role of ally and Opposition would cost Shiv Sena dearly.

mumbai Updated: Oct 27, 2017 17:34 IST
Ketaki Ghoge
Ketaki Ghoge
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Devendra Fadnavis,Shiv Sena,BJP
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis felicitates noted music composer Hridaynath Mangeshkar as legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar looks on at a function at Dadar in Mumbai on Thursday. (PTI Photo)

Despite the continued tussle between the saffron allies, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Thursday his party was willing to align with the Shiv Sena and it was for Uddhav Thackeray to decide whether he wants to continue an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In an interview with Hindustan Times ahead of his government completing three years in power on October 31, Fadnavis said in the next two years until the polls, the people’s mandate is clear — the saffron allies will have to work together to run the state government.

But even as he spoke of accommodating the Sena, his message to Thackeray was that playing a dual role of ally and Opposition would cost his party dearly.

“We have to accept the political reality that we do not have a majority, so we have to work with our ally. That’s the people’s mandate. My sole advice to the Sena is its attempts to act as Opposition as well as a party in power. This dual position is a breach of people’s trust. We are separate parties, so we don’t have to agree on everything, but we should have consensus on a majority of issues as ruling parties. The tendency to oppose everything doesn’t work...people don’t buy it ,’’ said Fadnavis.

“The Sena will have to decide whether they want to come with us in the 2019 polls. We have no issues...they have to decide,’’ said Fadnavis.

The chief minister also made it clear that the party’s main opposition would continue to be the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

His statement comes amidst an ongoing tussle between the allies and continued speculation the Sena may decide to walk out of his government and the BJP may align with the NCP.

In an hour-long chat, Fadnavis spoke of relations with the Sena, ego hassles in the state bureaucracy, public finances, the Gujarat polls, and infrastructure spending, among other issues.

In a jibe at the state’s bureaucracy, Fadnavis said that senior bureaucrats often did not perform to the best of their ability because of petty issues, including ego hassles.

“If senior bureaucrats function to the best of their capability for the benefit of the state, then the pace of our development would be far better...There is unfortunately an attitude that we are the best and no one can teach us anything,’’ he said.

In response to a question over the coming together of disparate groups to corner the Narendra Modi government on the lines of the Indira Gandhi government in the 1970s, especially in the Gujarat polls, Fadnavis said that while the atmosphere has been vitiated, especially in social media, such attempts will prove to be futile.

“If people come together only for the sake of opposition, it cannot last as a movement. Even from our point of view, for instance, the 1977 anti-emergency movement is one such example. People with very disparate ideologies came together to oppose Indira Gandhi but it couldn’t last... There has to be some rallying point,’’ said Fadnavis.

In a lighter vein, he said while the Opposition may be desperately looking for their JP (Jai Prakash Narayan who led the anti-emergency movement), people will continue to vote for the BJP.

First Published: Oct 26, 2017 23:45 IST