With his Utha Maharashtra slogan, Uddhav Thackeray may have his eyes set on making the state rise with him in the driver’s seat, but the race for the chief minister’s chair is not over for the Shiv Sena-BJP combine. State BJP chief Devendra Fadnavis, who was seen as a frontrunner for the post, categorically said yesterday that the CM’s chair was still open and that its occupant would be from the Mahayuti.
Hats in the ring: Devendra Fadnavis and Uddhav Thackeray File Pics
The statement is significant, coming as it does in the backdrop of Thackeray’s aggressive moves to portray himself as the alliance’s CM candidate and past indications from the BJP camp which seemed to confirm this.
While Fadnavis refused to answer questions on how this tied in with Thackeray’s desires, he clarified that BJP president Amit Shah’s statement on BJP leading the state government was not against the Sena. “What Mr Shah meant was that Mahayuti will wrest power in the state elections under BJP’s leadership,” he said.
While the 25-year-old Sena-BJP alliance has been far from a smooth ride for both parties lately, it may have just hit a new low, with Fadnavis telling mid-day that the BJP would release a vision document at Fergusson College in Pune on August 25. He added that he has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address at least 15 rallies in state for the assembly polls.
Thackeray had released his vision document for the state on August 7, and sources from the BJP said that despite two different plans being worked out by the allies, there is no guarantee of a joint manifesto being drafted.
“After the release of the vision document, we will create an app for it so that people can go through it and give us valuable feedback,” said Fadnavis.
He also said that party observers had submitted their reports on 210 assembly constituencies and the rest would be submitted soon. This, despite the BJP contesting only 117 assembly seats as per the age-old formula.