MUMBAI: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday asserted that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena combine will sweep the October 21 Assembly elections.
"The BJP-Shiv Sena are bound by a common thread of 'Hindutva'. We are getting a huge response from the people all over the state and are confident of winning the elections again with full majority as an alliance," Fadnavis said, addressing the media jointly with Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray and other allies.
He also announced the alliance's seat-sharing ratio with the BJP contesting 150, the Shiv Sena 124 and other allies in 14 seats in the 288-member assembly. The other parties include Republican Party of India-A, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha, Shiv Sangram Party and Rayat Kranti Sanghatana, most of whom shall be contesting the BJP's 'Lotus' symbol in the polls.
At the outset, he also congratulated Sena's 'crown prince' Aditya Thackeray for deciding to contest from Worli (Mumbai) constituency, saying: "Let us welcome the young leader Aditya. I am confident he will win with the highest majority in the city."
To a pointed query on who would be the next CM, Fadnavis ducked by a counter: "Why are you in such hurry?"
Replying to a question on the Sena contesting a far lesser number of seats than the BJP, Uddhav Thackeray shot back: "Everything (in politics) doesn't depend on numbers."
Both leaders committed that the primary aim of the partnership was to give a formidable alliance to the people of the state.
Referring to the denial of tickets to several ministers and other senior BJP leaders, Fadnavis sidestepped by saying they would be entrusted with new responsibilities.
Sitting and former ministers axed include Vinod Tawade, Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Eknath Khadse, Raj Purohit and Prakash Mehta, though Khadse was mollified at the last minute after the BJP gave a ticket to his daughter Rohini Khadse.
On the question of widespread rebellion in different parts of the state, Fadnavis said there will be no rebels left in the fray by Monday.
"I appeal to all rebels to withdraw their candidature by Monday, otherwise we will show them their place," he declared.
The formal announcement of the alliance came on Friday after a terse joint statement by BJP state President Chandrakant Patil and senior Sena leader Subhash Desai on Monday, that the alliance was on despite a tussle going on for around a dozen seats between the two main parties.
With this, the battle-line are virtually drawn among the BJP-Sena, the Congress-NCP-plus allies, the Bahujan Vanchit Aghadi, besides the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Aam Aadmi Party, and other local groups, which will make the elections multi-cornered contests in many parts of the state.