Mumbai: Openly expressing his desire to become the Chief Minister for the first time from a public platform, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray today asked the electors to give him a chance and assured they would not regret.
Uddhav, whose relation with BJP is under strain over seat-sharing for the assembly poll, also sought to assert the pre-eminence of Shiv Sena in Maharashtra politics vis-a-vis its ally, saying the “face” that will rule the state in the event of the saffron alliance coming to power will be from “Shiv Sena only”. “I want the people to give me a chance and they will not be given a chance to complain,” he said during an interaction organised by a private news channel.
The Shiv Sena president, in the same breath, said he was not dreaming of the chief minister’s post, but will not shy away from responsibility. “It is for the people to decide if they trust me. They will decide whom they want as the face (chief minister). I am not hankering after any post but will not shy away from responsibility either,” he said. When asked if that ‘face’ will be from Shiv Sena, he said, “the face will be from Shiv Sena only”.
Uddhav said questions were often raised about his leadership qualities, “but I am Balasaheb’s ( Bal Thackeray) son and will never shy away from responsibilities”. Asked about the delay in formalising a seat-sharing pact with BJP, the Sena leader said “there is no problem from my side”. “Talks with BJP for seat sharing are on. The seats which we will not contest will go to BJP,” he said, apparently asserting Shiv Sena’s status of “senior partner” in the saffron coalition in Maharashtra despite dwindling strength.
In the 2009 Assembly polls, Shiv Sena had contested 160 seats and won 44, while BJP bagged 46 despite putting up candidates in only 119 seats. The 2014 Lok Sabha election saw BJP win 23 seats against Shiv Sena’s 18. “Every party wants to expand its base and decisions should be taken on basis of ground realities. Ours is a 25-year-old alliance, but its good if people remain within their limits,” he said.
In the Lok Sabha polls, Uddhav said, people voted for a ‘face’ (Modi) for change and Shiv Sena’s contribution in the victory in Maharashtra cannot be ignored. “Did the Modi wave show in Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Orissa and West Bengal? It depends on alliance partners as well. Modi is Prime Minister of our alliance,” he said.
To a question on issue of Vidarbha state, a cause being supported by BJP, he said people want development and there is no agitation going on for separate statehood there. Uddhav also said if voted to power, the saffron government would bring the ” Karnataka occupied Maharashtra” into the state. “Maharashtra has never forced Marathi language on Kannadigas living here. We want the Marathi speaking areas in Karnataka to be declared a union territory till the Supreme Court gives its verdict,” he said, referring to the territorial dispute between the two states.