Both Shiv Sena, BJP adamant on Maharashtra CM post; drama likely before state polls

Both Shiv Sena, BJP adamant on Maharashtra CM post; drama likely before state polls
If the saffron allies are unable to reach a consensus before the Assembly polls scheduled later this year, it may result in more cross-party bickering and provide an opening to the Congress-NCP combine

The upcoming Assembly polls in Maharashtra may strain relations between the BJP and Shiv Sena, with both saffron allies vying for the prestigious Chief Ministerial post.

On Wednesday, the Shiv Sena made a claim in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ that the next Chief Minister of the state will be from Uddhav Thackeray’s party. The article was published the same day Devendra Fadnavis attended its foundation day function.

It said even though it has a tie-up with the BJP, the “Shiv Sena is an independent political entity”.

“We have to resolve to turn the next Vidhan Sabha ‘saffron’ and ensure that a Shiv Sena chief minister will be seated on the dais at the party’s 54th foundation day next year,” the daily said.

During the function, Fadnavis termed Thackeray as his “elder brother” and said the BJP-Sena alliance will have a thumping victory in the coming state Assembly polls while reiterating that the issue of who will become CM or deputy CM was secondary.

However, soon after, BJP leader Ram Kadam told media that Fadnavis will return to power with everyone’s support.

“Devendra Fadnavis is appreciated by all and he will be the Chief Minister again with everyone’s support. Shiv Sena is our ally, leaders of the opposition are of the opinion that Devendra Fadnavis should be the Chief Minister,” Kadam said.

Last week, when state Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar’s claimed that the next chief minister would be from the BJP, Yuva Sena secretary Varun Sardesai said the post will be rotated between the two allies, for 2.5 years each.

Sardesai, a cousin of Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray, also tweeted that BJP president Amit Shah had “approved” the decision to have rotational chief ministership between the saffron outfits.

Back in February, senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut had also stated that the next chief minister of Maharashtra would be from his party.

The Sena has been one of the oldest allies of BJP, which won a massive victory in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls. The two have fought state elections together for almost three decades, barring a brief period before the 2014 Assembly election.

Despite their long association, the Sena had routinely taken potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former BJP president Amit Shah ahead of Lok Sabha elections – only to change its stance before the polls and contest together in the state.

According to political observers, if the allies are unable to reach a consensus before the Assembly polls scheduled later this year, it may result in more cross-party bickering and provide an opening to the Congress-NCP combine.

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