Devendra Fadnavis said the 2019 Assembly polls in the state would be fought in alliance (with the Sena and other parties) and discussions on seat-sharing would be held soon.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Sunday said he was the chief minister of not only the BJP but also the allies in the state government and exuded confidence that he would return for a second-term to the top post. The post of chief minister has been a bone of contention between the BJP and the Shiv Sena and leaders from both the parties have spoken out of turn on it. “I am chief minister of not only the BJP but also the Shiv Sena, RPI, Rashtriya Samaj Paksh (all allies in the state government). People will decide who will be the next chief minister. You need not worry. Our work will speak for us,” he told party workers at the state executive meeting held here. “I have already said this that I will return,” Fadnavis said.
“Some people are raking up the issue of the chief minister’s post. Don’t fall into this trap. There are people from both parties who speak unnecessarily,” he said. Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut Sunday evening said there was no dispute between the two parties regarding the chief minister’s post.
“There is no dispute over the chief minister’s post between the Shiv Sena and BJP,” he told PTI, but refused to elaborate. Raut also refused to comment on Fadnavis’ statement that he was the “chief minister of the BJP and the Shiv Sena” and that he would return to the top post after the state polls.
Recently, there was also talk of Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray being the Sena’s pick for the chief minister’s post. In response, Thackeray had said, “It is the people who will have to decide whether I am ready to occupy the post or not. I can’t talk about it as this is the only thing which is not in my hand.” Thackeray was speaking to a news channels Friday during his ‘Jan Ashirwad’ yatra in north Maharashtra.
The two parties are expected to fight on equal number of seats, and some Sena leaders have routinely stressed that “equal power sharing” also meant sharing the chief minister’s post for identical tenures. Fadnavis said the 2019 Assembly polls in the state would be fought in alliance (with the Sena and other parties) and discussions on seat-sharing would be held soon. Allaying fears that influx of leaders from other parties into the BJP would put old-timers at a disadvantage, Fadnavis said it was about inducting good people from other outfits.
“If they wish to join us, our people shouldn’t be disturbed. Eight-five per cent of (BJP) candidates in the (2019) Lok Sabha polls were our people,” he said. He told workers not to be complacent post the massive mandate the BJP got in the Lok Sabha polls, as the Assembly elections in the state would be a different battleground. “Since the battleground is different, our strategy will also have to different. Don’t be complacent and take people for granted,” he said.
The chief minister told the gathering that they should be satisfied with the development currently on under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi instead of vying for posts. He asked partymen not to seek tickets or recommend names as the criteria for nomination was fixed, adding that “we will fight each seat to win”. “The Congress’ national, state and Mumbai president have been defeated in the Lok Sabha polls. The NCP president accepted defeat even before the election and the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi also suffered defeat. Defeat doesn’t mean insult. Let us train our opponents on how to function as the opposition for 10-15 years,” he said.