Devendra Fadnavis, Uddhav Thackeray spar over grooming Aaditya as Maharashtra’s next CM

Uddhav Thackeray says that Devendra Fadnavis told him that he would groom Aaditya Thackeray to become the State’s next CM in 2019; Mr. Fadnavis says Mr. Thackeray has "lost his mind"

April 21, 2024 11:21 am | Updated April 22, 2024 06:22 am IST - Mumbai

Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray addresses a public meeting for Lok Sabha elections, in Mumbai on April 20, 2024.

Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray addresses a public meeting for Lok Sabha elections, in Mumbai on April 20, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray has claimed the then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told him in 2019 that he would groom his son Aaditya Thackeray as the next CM of Maharashtra as part of the power-sharing agreement between their parties. Mr. Thackeray also said Mr. Fadnavis told him that he would move to the Centre in the next two to three years.

Addressing a rally in Mumbai’s Dharavi on April 21, Mr. Thackeray claimed the then BJP chief Amit Shah had come to Matoshree, the private residence of the Thackerays, to seek an alliance with Shiv Sena (undivided).

"At that time, Fadnavis was made to sit outside the room of late Bal Thackeray while the two leaders [Mr. Shah and Mr. Thackeray] discussed modalities," he claimed. It was assured to me that the post of chief minister will be shared for 2.5 years [between BJP and Sena-undivided], he said.

“Later, Devendra Fadnavis told me, Uddhav Ji, I will groom Aaditya for 2.5 years. We can make him CM after 2.5 years. I told him (Fadnavis) that he (Aaditya) is just starting his electoral career. Do not put anything like this in his mind,” Mr. Thackeray said. When I asked Fadnavis how a senior leader like him would work under Aaditya, he (Fadnavis) said he would move to Delhi, the former CM added.

Uddhav Thackeray is hallucinating, says Fadnavis

The claim evoked a sharp reaction from Mr. Fadnavis, current deputy chief minister in the Mahayuti government of BJP, Shiv Sena led by Eknath Shinde and NCP led by Ajit Pawar, who said Mr. Thackeray has "lost his mind".

"Uddhav Thackeray has become 'bhramishta' (delirious). He is hallucinating. Initially, he said Amit Shah promised him a chief ministership in some room. Now he says I promised to make his son a CM. To hide one falsehood, another lie is being told," Mr. Fadnavis said.

He, however, admitted to having told Thackeray that Aaditya should be trained as he will eventually take control of the party (Shiv Sena) one day. “Leave alone making him (Aaditya) a chief minister, I wouldn’t make him even a minister. He (Aaditya) became a minister later (when MVA was in power) which landed the Shiv Sena (UBT) in its current situation today,” he said.

In his speech, Mr. Thackeray slammed Mr. Fadnavis for his reference to "some room" during his talks with Mr. Shah and said the room of Bal Thackeray is like a temple. Later Mr. Fadnavis posted on X, "We respect late Balasaheb Thackeray because he was always true to his word and never deviated from his ideals. We don't respect those who sacrificed the ideals of the late leader." "Who are you trying to fool by speaking imagined scripts? You are misleading yourself," he stated.

He further said that Maharashtra's "socio-politics" and development is not a movie script. "You have nothing to do with politics and development. So don't try to get involved in such scripts. You will get a befitting reply," he said.

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said there is a limit to speaking lies. “He (Uddhav) wanted to become chief minister. As he couldn’t become a CM when he was part of the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance, he switched sides,” Mr. Shinde told reporters, referring to Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (undivided) joining hands with the NCP (undivided) and the Congress after the 2019 assembly elections.

Notably, a split engineered by Mr. Shinde led to the collapse of the Thackeray-led MVA government in June 2022.

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