Mumbai: The political sparring over the post of Chief Minister, and to whom it should go after the Assembly election, played itself out on the dais on Shiv Sena’s foundation day.
While CM Devendra Fadanvis down played the issue, Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray pressed for equitable distribution of the sweepstakes and made a strong pitch for Sena’s claim to the post.
Nonetheless, both parties reiterated their stand to contest Assembly elections together. Both also appealed to their workers to strengthen the alliance and not to engage in a slugfest.
Both were addressing the 53rd Foundation Day of the Shiv Sena at Shanmu-khanand Auditorium. For the first time in recent history, a leader from the BJP was invited to address the foundation day programme.
Varun Sardesai, a family member of Uddhav Thackeray, had put out a tweet reminding the BJP about their promise of a rotational CM post. "This was decided in the meeting with Amit Shah while finalizing the alliance," Varun had said in his tweet. This ignited the debate and the resultant shadow boxing.
"Let the media discuss the issue. It doesn't matter much, it is not very important to us. We will fight together and register a thumping majority, even bigger than that in the last election," Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said.
"We have already discussed and decided on several issues which will arise in future. Those decisions will be announced at an appropriate time," Fadnavis said in an indirect reference to the issue of Chief Minister’s post.
But, while addressing the Shiv Sena workers, Uddhav indirectly made out a case for Shiv Sena. "We want parity and equality in everything," was Thackeray’s statement which received thunderous applause from thousands of Shiv Sena workers.
"Amit Shah and CM Fadnavis met me and we decided on everything. We have decided on the CM’s post, too. There will be no problem on this issue," Uddhav added, confirming Sardesai's tweet.
Addressing the huge gathering, Fadnavis said that he was feeling at home because both the parties are working under a saffron flag. He also thanked Uddhav Thackeray for inviting him, which would ensure better coordination.
Describing Uddhav as his elder brother, Fadnavis said, "I have come here to seek the blessings of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, affection from Uddhav ji and energy from the Shiv Sainiks."