Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said he would refer to his predecessor and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis as a “responsible leader” and not Opposition leader despite his appointment to the post, Hindustan Times reported. Thackeray, who addressed the Assembly on the second day of a special two-day session, blamed the former alliance partner for ending ties that lasted three decades.
“I won’t call you [Devendra Fadnavis] an Opposition leader, but I will call you a responsible leader,” ANI quoted the Shiv Sena president as saying. “If you would have been good to us then, all this [BJP-Shiv Sena split] would have not happened… I have learnt a lot of things from Devendra Fadnavis and I will always be friends with him.”
The chief minister said he would never abandon the ideology of Hindutva. Taking a dig at the BJP leader, Thackeray pointed out that unlike Fadnavis he had never said he would be back in power. “Me punha yein [I will return]” was Fadnavis’ impassioned pre-poll slogan. “I can assure this House and people of Maharashtra that I will not do anything at midnight,” the chief minister added, referring to Fadnavis’ brief return to power on November 23. “I will be working for the interests of the people.”
In response, Fadnavis accepted that he did say he would make a comeback “but forgot to give you the timetable for it”. “But I can assure you one thing, you need to wait for some time,” he added.
Fadnavis quoted a famous couplet and said: “Thinking the tide has ebbed, don’t you dare build your house on the coast, for I am the sea, and I will come back.” Taking a dig at the ruling alliance, the BJP leader pointed out he had started several projects during his tenure, and might return to inaugurate them.
The chief minister praised the Shiv Sena’s new allies – the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress. Thackeray said he was a “lucky chief minister” as his party’s former opponents were now supporting him. “I am a lucky CM because those who opposed me are now with me and those who I was with are now on the opposite side,” he told the House. I am here with my luck and blessings of people. I have never told anyone that I will be coming here but I came,” he said.
Thackeray has never contested elections and is the first in the family to be elected chief minister of the state. He took oath as Maharashtra chief minister on Thursday at Mumbai’s Shivaji Park.
Earlier on Sunday, Congress leader Nana Patole was elected the Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly after the BJP withdrew its candidate Kisan Kathore.