Mumbai: The first joint press conference of Mahayuti (Grand Alliance) was skipped by several leaders of alliance partners. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, in presence of Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray, announced that the BJP is contesting on 150 seats, while the Shiv Sena is fielding candidates on 124 seats and their alliance partners on the rest 14 seats.
Importantly, the Mahayuti's press conference was conspicuous by the absence of RPI leader Ramdas Athawale, RSP leader and minister Mahadev Jankar, Shiv Sangram leader Vinayak Mete and Rayat Karnati leader Sadabhau Khot.
There absence has ignited the speculations about alliance partners' unhappiness over the seat-sharing agreement and forcing them to contest on BJP symbol.
Even though the BJP is claiming it has given 14 seats to its allies, the fact is all have been asked to contest on BJP symbol. It means in case they win, they will be BJP legislators. Just as a token, they will be called allied legislators in political circles.
Even the BJP has fielded its own leaders as alliance partner candidates. The RPI did not get any ticket for their own candidate. It has angered the leaders.
The roping in of Gopichand Padalkar in BJP has upset another Dhangar leader Mahadev Jankar.
Mahayuti will win: Despite differences, the BJP and Shiv Sena share the "common thread" of Hindutva and will retain power in Maharashtra after the October 21 Assembly poll, Fadnavis said in Mumbai on Friday.
He claimed the 'Mahayuti' alliance comprising BJP, Sena and other parties will get an unprecedented victory in the election. Fadnavis said Aaditya Thackeray, son of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, will win the Worli seat Assembly poll by polling the highest number of votes in Mumbai.
On why some senior leaders, including cabinet ministers were not fielded by the BJP, Fadnavis said, "Nobody has been dropped. They have only been reassigned new responsibilities."
Uddhav does U-turn on CM post: Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray, who the other day publicly said, the Shiv Sena will stake its claim on the CM post, first tried to dodge the query.
When compelled on answer whether Aaditya would be CM of the state, he took a complete U-turn. "It is the first step of Aaditya in Parliamentary politics.
The first step in this politics does not mean you have to become the chief minister of the state. He has just entered politics. It is just the beginning," he said.
Asked how strong is the bond between the Sena and the BJP, especially at a time when the opposition has been claiming that junior partner has been meted out a step-brotherly treatment, Uddhav said, “There is nothing like big or small brother. It is just we are brothers and our bonding is strong, which is essential.”
CM silent on Vidarbha: Before becoming the CM, Devendra Fadnavis was very aggressive about Vidarbha. When asked about his stand of a separate Vidarbha state, he got angry.
First, he tried to evade the question, saying the media would not get a headline. When insisted, he refused to divulge his stand and said it has been explained earlier.