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Congress-NCP likely to insist on Uddhav Thackeray as Shiv Sena’s pick for Maharashtra CM

MUMBAI: The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have told the

Shiv Sena

that they wouldn’t want anyone other than

Uddhav Thackeray

as Sena’s candidate for chief minister of a coalition government, according to multiple sources in the know.

This comes amid indications that Matoshree might be considering either Sena veteran Subhash Desai or its legislative leader and Thane satrap

Eknath Shinde

for the top job.

While Sena has publicly taken the view that it has more than one eligible candidate for CM, the rank and file of the party is keen that Thackeray should lead the government. A Sena MLA told TOI that no other leader would be unanimously accepted within the party.

“During deliberations, Congress and NCP leaders have made it clear to Sena that Uddhav should be their CM choice in order to ensure stability,’’ a senior Congressman told this paper. The alliance partners may insist on this condition regardless of whether the term is for 2.5 years or the entire five years.

There is talk though that the Sena president himself is not keen to assume the job of managing the coalition. But the other options within Sena—a senior leader, or 29-year-old first-time MLA Aaditya—appear to be unacceptable to the other two parties.

Congress has two former CMs,

Ashok Chavan

and Prithviraj Chavan, and NCP two former deputy CMs, Ajit Pawar and Chhagan Bhujbal, elected to the assembly.

Since, in all probability, they’ll have to work closely with the new chief minister, the alliance partners would prefer to have the Sena boss in the saddle.

The party leadership is pushing Congress-NCP to declare their support for a Sena candidate as CM by November 17, the death anniversary of Balasaheb Thackeray.

There was speculation when Shinde was elected Sena leader for both houses, legislative assembly and council, that he would be the CM candidate. Subhash Desai, the senior among the two, represents the old guard in the party. He is also part of the panel involved in framing the common minimum progra

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