Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday claimed that the prime minister’s post has already been booked for the 2019 and 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Fadnavis was replying to a question from actor Riteish Deshmukh during an award ceremony in Mumbai, PTI reported.

Deshmukh had asked which politician from Maharashtra can become the prime minister, mentioning Bharatiya Janata Party leader Nitin Gadkari and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar. “Let me tell you, this question does not arise, because the post for prime minister has already been booked,” Fadnavis said. “Not only for this year’s election, but also for the 2024 polls.”

The chief minister, however, said that he would be happy if a politician from Maharashtra became the prime minister after 2029.

Fadnavis parried another question about whether the Shiv Sena or the BJP would get the chief minister and deputy chief minister’s posts, if both parties secure an equal number of seats in the Maharashtra Assembly elections scheduled for later this year. “Everything cannot be disclosed at this moment,” he added.

On February 18, BJP and Shiv Sena announced an alliance and a seat-sharing pact for the Lok Sabha elections and Assembly elections. Shiv Sena will stand from 23 seats and the BJP will contest from 25 seats in the Lok Sabha polls. In the Assembly polls, the BJP will contest from 144 out of the 288 seats.

On Wednesday, Fadnavis denied that BJP workers were unhappy with the party contesting in just 144 constituencies. “Forging an alliance with our old ally Shiv Sena was necessary and this is the political reality in the present situation when all non-natural allies are ganging up to fight against us,” he said. “Our workers understand this very well and support the alliance.”