Taking potshots at senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde, Shiv Sena has asserted that party president Uddhav Thackeray will be its nominee for Maharashtra chief minister's post
Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray will be its nominee for Maharashtra chief minister's post, the party said today even as it attacked ally BJP's senior leader Gopinath Munde over his chief ministerial ambitions.
"We have always had this understanding with BJP, that the prime minister will be from the BJP and the chief minister in the state will be from Shiv Sena and all our cadre, everyone wants Uddhavji to be chief minister if our grand alliance comes to power," Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut said.
"Uddhavji has himself never said he wants to be chief minister but it is our wish that he leads us in the coming elections," he said.
The development comes two days after Uddhav's estranged cousin and MNS leader Raj Thackeray announced he would contest elections and would become chief minister if his party got the mandate.
Nobody from the Thackeray clan has so far contested an election.
"We haven't spoken to the BJP yet on CM candidature or seat-sharing but there is no conflict, they are our friends," Raut said.
On the plethora of candidates for the CM's chair in the state including NCP leader Ajit Pawar and MNS chief Raj Thackeray, he said, "Ajit Pawar has been given a fitting reply by people of Maharashtra in the Lok Sabha polls. As for others, no one can be compared to Uddhavji."
Asked if Maharashtra will see a Thackeray vs Thackeray contest in the elections, Raut said, "No. Everyone wants change in the state and only Uddhavji can lead us to that."
Earlier, an editorial in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' took a dig at Munde, Union Rural Development Minister, over his chief ministerial ambitions.
"State BJP President Devendra Fadnavis has said BJP has sent Munde on a three-month loan to Delhi after which he will lead Maharashtra.
"Munde on the other hand has said he feels the slogan coined by some in state BJP that 'Narendra at the Centre, Devendra (Fadnavis) in the state' is good. There is a lot of talk about CM candidature in BJP circles. The question is will Narendra Modi accept this formula of loaning Munde to the Centre and then sending him back to the state," the editorial said.
"Like Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Munde is physically in Delhi but his heart is in Maharashtra," it quipped.
Reacting to Raut's statement, BJP leader in the Legislative Council Vinod Tawde said there was no "tussle" with the party's oldest ally Shiv Sena over who would be the chief minister.
"We are only concerned about how to topple the Congress-NCP government. How the fruits of development under Modi government can reach the state. It is possible only when there is no Congress-NCP government in the state and we are in power," he said.
Fadnavis, meanwhile, has side-stepped the issue by commenting that the chief minister will be decided after the elections.
NDA ally Republican Party of India chief Ramdas Athawale had a different but diplomatic take on the issue. "The CM will be from the alliance. He would be from the party which gets maximum number of legislators elected."
Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council Vinod Tawde of the BJP, denied any tussle over the CM nominee and said that the main issue was how to topple the ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government in the state.
With barely four months left for the state assembly elections, there is intense competition among various political parties to project their CM candidate in advance - on the lines of the BJP at the national level which had projected Narendra Modi as PM candidate last year.