Speaking to reporters here, Athawale said Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray should remain chief minister for one year and then the coveted post should go to BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis for the remaining three years (of current assembly term).
Athawale also said that NCP chief Sharad Pawar should join the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the event of the Shiv Sena not forging ties with the BJP.
The Union Minister, a BJP ally, made the remarks in the wake of the meeting between Fadnavis and Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut at a city hotel on Saturday that had sparked a buzz in political circles.
However, Fadnavis, a former chief minister, had later maintained that the meeting with Raut was in connection with an interview for Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana. Raut is also executive editor of the Marathi daily.
Long-standing allies Shiv Sena and the BJP had severed ties after the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly polls over sharing the chief ministerial post for two-and-half years on a rotational basis.
The Shiv Sena had then joined hands with ideological rivals NCP and the Congress and formed the present Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government with Thackeray as its head in November last year.
It is my proposal that the Shiv Sena reunites with the BJP. Thackeray should become the chief minister for a year and Fadnavis for the rest of the three years.
The Shiv Sena should be given one or two portfolios in Delhi (central government), too. The Shiv Sena should not stick in the NCP and Congresss labyrinth and come with us, he added.
Athawale added that Pawar should join the NDA if the Shiv Sena is unwilling to be a part of the BJP-led coalition.
The NCP patriarch may get “a big post” in the future if he joins the NDA, the Rajya Sabha MP said.
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