Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said that there is no confusion in the BJP about fighting the Maharashtra state elections with the Shiv Sena, and expressed confidence that he would be CM again if the alliance won.
In an interview to The Indian Express in Aurangabad last week, during his state-wide Janadesh Yatra, Fadnavis sought to lay to rest the hit-and-run battles between various second-rung leaders of the BJP and Sena over claims to chief ministership if the alliance won.
“In a democracy we should leave it to people. So if we have done a good job, which I think we have, people will elect us back. The BJP parliamentary board under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is empowered to choose the CM. However, the political situation is such that they will choose me,” he said.
About the alliance with the Sena, Fadnavis said, “At least what I know, at the top in Delhi and Maharashtra, there is no confusion. We will fight in alliance, it will be a mandate for the alliance, and very soon the details will be made public.”
The BJP’s alliance with the Sena was “not a need-based alliance”, the CM said, but one based on common ideology. “We fought together for the Lok Sabha elections, and we have decided to continue the alliance for the Vidhan Sabha elections. In 2014, for very few seats, we broke our alliance. But (neither of us) was happy. But we have understood, we have learnt a lot, that we should stay together. In alliances sometimes you gain, sometimes you have to sacrifice something.”
Asked if the BJP would sacrifice the chief ministership, Fadnavis said, “The talk about chief minister’s position is talk by unauthorised people. What has been agreed is known to me, Amitbhai and Uddhavji. At the appropriate time, you will also come to know about that. I have already said in the Vidhan Sabha that I am coming back as chief minister. There should be no doubt.”
He also said there had been no discussions between the two parties on sharing the chief ministership.
Fadnavis admitted that along with the rest of the country, Maharashtra too had started feeling the pinch of the economic slowdown, and said it was a “concern” as the automobile sector in the state had been affected. He was hopeful that “remonetisation” through the RBI’s transfer of Rs 1.76 trillion to the government and other measures announced by the Finance Ministry would act as a stimulus.
“Yes it is a concern and certain businesses also expressed their concern that they will not be able to run their businesses with huge manpower. Major impact is in the automobile sector. Maharashtra accounts for 40 per cent of the automobile sector,” he said, while adding that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had addressed the issues of the sector regarding the switchover to improved grades of emission standards.
He said the revocation of J&K’s special status would be an issue in the coming Maharashtra elections because “every single person in every state, barring 2-3 per cent, supports it”, and that the people of Maharashtra “feel it (Kashmir) should be an integral part of the country”.
Fadnavis has been touring Maharashtra since August 1 in an early start to his poll campaign. He covered the Vidarbha region in the first leg of the Janadesh Yatra and after a gap due to the floods in Kolhapur and Sangli, resumed the yatra in Marathwada.
He has been holding public meetings during the yatra. His speeches begin by listing all that his government has done, and end with references to the 2016 surgical strikes, the February 2019 Balakot air strikes, the “abrogation of Article 370”, and how PM Modi had made India “strong” through these actions.