In a major win for the Shiv Sena, three-time MLA Neelam Gorhe has been elected deputy chairperson of the Maharashtra Legislative Council unopposed on Monday. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray Monday addressed a joint meeting of BJP-Shiv Sena lawmakers at the state legislature in Mumbai, to felicitate Sena's Neelam Gorhe, as shared by state Finance Minister and BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar.
Mungantiwar said Fadnavis and Thackeray asked lawmakers of both the parties to use the remaining period of the current monsoon session to undertake maximum public interest work. When asked if the two leaders guided legislators in view of the Assembly polls, due in September-October, Mungantiwar replied in the negative and said:
"We are preparing for the Assembly polls together. Alliance talks will also begin in some days. We will fight the polls together with a sentiment 'ab ki baar 220 paar' (over 220 seats this time)."
He informed that only Fadnavis and Thackeray, or anyone the two leaders appoint as spokesperson, will talk on issues related to the BJP-Sena alliance. Minister of State for Home Deepak Kesarkar said the meeting was held to celebrate the unanimous election of Gorhe.
He refused to comment on a query on what message the state CM and Thackeray gave to legislators at the meeting. To a question about the reported tussle between Shiv Sena and BJP over the chief minister's post, Kesarkar said:
"Such a discussion was on only in the media and not between the parties".
In a major showdown between NDA allies in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray, on Sunday has reportedly demanded disciplinary action against BJP leaders who were claiming that BJP deserved the CM post in the state. The party is scheduled to raise the issue in Monday's crucial joint meeting of Shiv Sena-BJP MLAs in Mumbai, as per sources.
Earlier on Saturday Thackeray hit out at BJP leaders on Saturday for their comments on the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance and the Chief Ministerial candidate The Sena chief also spoke out against interference of other BJP leaders on the matter.
On the same day, Girish Mahajan, the BJP legislator from Jamner asserted that it was clear that the Chief Minister would be from his party. Reacting to this statement, Thackeray slammed Mahajan and said that talks for the Chief Ministerial candidate are already in place:
"The alliance talks with the BJP are already done with BJP president Amit Shah and CM Devendra Fadnavis. No one else should put their oar into the matter."
On June 11, sources had said that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was disappointed and had expressed his disappointment over Mungatiwar's statement where he had allegedly said that BJP will have the right to the CM post. However, the Shiv Sena claims that as per seat-sharing deal, the Chief Minister's post will be shared among the candidates of both parties for 2.5 years each.
(With PTI Inputs)