The Shiv Sena has made it clear that party chief Uddhav Thackeray would be its chief ministerial candidate.
Addressing a party conclave at Alibaug, Yuva Sena leader Aditya Thackeray exhorted Sainiks to take two oaths – they would ensure that Narendra Modi becomes the prime minister and Uddhav would head the government in Maharashtra.
Uddhav was not present on the dais when his son Aditya made the announcement. When asked for his reaction, Uddhav replied: “I will go home and discuss this issue with Aditya.”
However, sources said Aditya’s announcement was made with the full knowledge of Uddhav and was aimed at pre-empting the projection of any other leader for chief ministership during the assembly election campaign.
The BJP, which is a long-time ally of the Sena, is of the opinion that there is no question of projecting anyone as chief minister. “The chief minister will be from the party which has maximum number of assembly seats,” a senior BJP leader said.
“In any case, the CM candidate will be collectively decided by our allies like Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana and Republican Party of India. The Sena cannot unilaterally take a decision,” he added.
Aditya also made a significant statement that while the late Bal Thackeray had stated that the Shiv Sena’s activities were 80 per cent social work and 20 per cent political, he was of the opinion that it should be 100 per cent political work because in any case the party’s aim was social progress.
The youth leader’s bold declaration deviating from his grandfather’s statement raised quite a few eyebrows in Sena circles since it marked a major shift from the earlier line laid down by Bal Thackeray. But, Sena sources said Aditya’s statement should not be misunderstood.
“What he meant was that politics should be used for social welfare and cannot be an end in itself.
Political power has to be captured for social progress,” a senior Sena leader clarified.
Meanwhile, RPI leader Ramdas Athavale is getting increasingly restless since the Sena is not enthusiastic about backing his candidature for Rajya Sabha.
The Sena is asking the BJP to adjust Athavale in Madhya Pradesh or Gujarat. It is apparently keen on re-electing industrialist Rajkumar Dhoot and sending Pune-based builder Sanjay Kakade to the Upper House. Indications are that Athavale may pull out of the alliance if he is not supported by the Sena.