MUMBAI: While staking claim on the Chief Minister’s post, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray had played an emotional card saying that he had promised his late father and founder of Shiv Sena Balasaheb Thackeray that he will see to it that one day a Shiv Sainik (party worker) will occupy the CM’s post in the state.
However, over the past 10 days after the assembly results the Shiv Sena had been projecting party’s heir-apparent Aditya as the proposed candidate for the post. In this backdrop party workers from Thane have put up banners demanding that Eknath Shinde be made Chief Minister.
Shinde, who held the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) portfolio over the past five years in Fadnavis cabinet, was chosen as the Shiv Sena legislature party leader last week. Party looks at him as the leader who has single-handedly kept the party’s stronghold of Thane district intact over past couple of decades. Shinde also shares a good rapport with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and has been entrusted with CM’s pet project of Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi Corridor, which is worth Rs 46,000 crore.
On this backdrop posters demanding elevation of Shinde as the Chief Minister have been put up in Thane. In the Kolbad area of Thane, leader of Sena’s transport union Ashok Patil has put up the banners. The banners, written in Marathi, read, “We pray to Goddess Tuljabhavani that by her grace, Eknath Shinde, the popular leader from Thane, becomes the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.”
While the Shiv Sena had been projecting Aditya as its Chief Ministerial candidate, the banners in Thane have led to several speculations, that include Shinde might be his on way to BJP. The fact that, during the meeting of party MLAs immediately after the results, the Shiv Sena had entrusted Shinde’s adversary from Thane Prakash Sarnaik with the responsibility of briefing the media too is being seen as a reflection of Sena’s internal power dynamics.
To add to this speculation, the independent MLA from Amrawati Ravi Rana, who is also considered to be close to CM Fadnavis, on Monday claimed that at least 25 Shiv Sena MLAs are in touch with him and that these MLAs would extend support to the BJP if Shiv Sena doesn’t budge.