You are still my friend, Uddhav Thackeray tells Devendra Fadnavis
While Uddhav Thackeray says he became CM due to luck and people's support, Devendra Fadnavis reminds the people of his 'I will return as CM' rhetoric
Soon after Devendra Fadnavis was appointed leader of the Opposition at a special sitting of the state legislature, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and he traded barbs, albeit jovially.
Thackeray said he hadn't said 'Mi yein (I will be CM)' but became one eventually because of sheer luck and people's wish. The observation was made in reference to Fadnavis's 'Mi punha yein (I will return as CM)' rhetoric during his election campaign. The Opposition leader retorted saying he had said he would return but had not given a deadline.
"Mera paani utarate dekh mere kinare ghar mat basa lena, main samundar hun lautkar vapis auunga (Looking at the low tide, don't start building a house on my shores because I'm the sea that will definitely return)", he said while issuing a veiled warning that the BJP might spring a surprise by staking claim to form the government. "Nothing is impossible in politics," he said.
The duel happened during the welcome speeches for Fadnavis. The Opposition leaders praised and also made subtle references to the BJP's attempt to form government by lifting the President's rule in the wee hours. Thackeray said, "I would have watched all this happening on TV at home if you (BJP) were with us. I still consider you my friend and I think there should be no bridge between us. We have been together for the past 25 years and I didn't expect this day would come."
Thackeray said if the BJP had been good to the Sena, then the break-up would not have happened. "I still abide by the Hindutva ideology and will continue to follow it. I've never betrayed the (BJP) government when we were together," he said, adding that those who were earlier in the Opposition were now his friends, and those who were his friends were now in the Opposition. But he cajoled the BJP, saying, "I believe there will be no opposition because they are my friends."
In another speech welcoming the new Speaker, Fadnavis said the new CM should deliver on the promise of giving distressed farmers immediate assistance. "Uddhav ji had demanded R25,000 per hectare for farmers as assistance. He should now ensure that the farmers get the assistance," he added. Later in the day, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari outlined the government's agenda of public and farmer welfare in his address to the joint sitting of the two Houses.
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