Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Friday pilloried leaders of the alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party for what he described as, was their effort ‘to prove him a liar’ and going back on the agreement to share the chief minister’s post in Maharashtra.
Uddhav Thackeray had convened the media briefing to counter Devendra Fadnavis, the Maharashtra chief minister who had just resigned and targeted Thackeray and the Sena for the inability of the BJP-Sena alliance to form the government despite a clear majority in elections to the assembly’s 288 seats. Fadnavis also claimed, this time on camera, that the BJP had never agreed to sharing the chief minister’s post with the Shiv Sena.
Thackeray said this pact was never announced because Fadnavis had told him that he would face issues if word got out before elections that the chief minister’s post was going to be shared.
“I had told Amit Shah I want equal distribution of seats and power sharing including chief minister’s post for two-and-a-half years. Then he came to Matoshree, we sat in Balasaheb’s room. He said he wants to improve ties between the two parties during his tenure. I said what has been decided between us should be conveyed to other BJP leaders. It was conveyed to Devendra ji. Only then Devendraji said that if we announce that the CM post has been distributed in two equal terms, then I will face issues in the party. You leave it on me; I will put it in my words. Now I know how wordplay happened,” the 59-year-old Sena chief said, right at the beginning of the interaction.
The Sena chief spent the next 30 minutes to hurl darts at BJP leaders – party boss Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi included — as he went about recalling how he had even told Shah earlier that his stress on the chief minister’s chair was linked to a promise that he had made to his father Bal Thackeray. That one day, he will ensure that a Sena leader sits on the Maharashtra chief minister’s chair.
“I will fulfill that promise, I don’t need Amit Shah and Devendra Fadnavis for that,” Uddhav Thackeray said, his son Aaditya, 29, who won his first election from Worli sitting by his side.
Thackeray’s party leaders routinely hurl darts at the BJP in sound bytes or via editorials in the party mouthpiece; Thackeray’s no-holds barred attack at BJP leaders, however, is unusual.
Thackeray confirmed that he didn’t take calls from the BJP “because Fadnavis said I was lying. I was hurt by his remarks that no such formula was decided”.
Thackeray insisted that his party hadn’t held talks with the Nationalist Congress Party or the Congress but wondered why Fadnavis appeared to be so shocked by the Sena’s statements about other options.
“You (BJP) might have been shocked by my statements about other options. Today you (BJP) are claiming to form government without adequate numbers and without horse trading. If I think about my party, then they (BJP) set out to prove me wrong… They (BJP) should stake claim to form government or else, others have all options open,” the Sena chief said.
The Sena chief hasn’t clarified what the breakdown in communication between the two allies means for the alliance. “It is very sad that while cleaning the Ganga their minds became polluted. I felt bad that we entered into an alliance with the wrong people,” he said.
“It is for the first time that someone levelled false allegations against Thackeray family. I am upset that Shiv Sena and Thackeray family has been accused of lying. We never said anything about PM Modi,” he said.
The Sena chief also denied Fadnavis’s claim that Sena leaders targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He did not attack Modi but criticised the NDA government from time to time over policies, Thackeray said.
The BJP and Shiv Sena are locked in a tussle over the chief minister’s post, resulting in a stalemate despite the poll results giving the saffron alliance a combined seat strength of 161, way past the 145 majority mark in the 288- member House.