In his first press conference after resigning as Maharashtra Chief Minister, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said had Union Home Minister Amit Shah kept his word of rotating the post of CM in Maharashtra in 2019, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would have its CM at the moment.
Asserting that there can be no Shiv Sena chief minister in Maharashtra by keeping the party aside, Uddhav also made a fervent appeal to the new government led by Sena rebel Ekanth Shinde not to go ahead with the Metro-3 car shed project at Aarey Colony, a green belt in suburban Goregaon.
In their first Cabinet meeting held on Thursday, Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP directed the state administration to submit a proposal to build the Metro-3 car shed in Aarey Colony instead of Kanjurmarg.
The Uddhav-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government had shifted the proposed car shed site to Kanjurmarg from Aarey Colony on ground of environment protection, but the issue got embroiled in a legal dispute.
Uddhav said, "The way this [Shinde] government was formed and those [the BJP] who formed the government, they have said that a so-called Shiv Sainik has been made the chief minister.
"Those who did not keep the word two-and-a-half-years back and by back-stabbing [the Sena], again attempts are made to create confusion among the Shiv Sainiks by calling it [Shinde] a Shiv Sena CM, then this is not a Sena CM. There can be no Sena CM by keeping the Sena aside."
In a surprise move, Shinde on Thursday took oath as the chief minister and Fadnavis as his deputy.
Around 40 Sena MLAs led by Shinde rebelled against the party leadership last week which eventually led to the collapse of the Uddhav-led MVA government, which also comprised of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress party.
Uddhav said, "Had everything taken place as decided between me and Amit Shah, the change of power would have been graceful and dignified. And I would not have become the chief minister or the Maha Vikas Aghadi would not have been formed."
Had Shah kept his word [on rotation of CM's post for 2.5 years each between the Shiv Sena and the BJP], it would have been a great government, said Uddhav.
Uddahv sought to know what the BJP has gained when it does not have its own chief minister for the rest of the term.
In 2019, the Shiv Sena and the BJP fought the Assembly polls together, but parted ways due to differences over sharing the chief minister's post. The Sena claims it was decided that all posts, including that of the chief minister, would be shared between the two saffron parties.
The BJP, however, rejected the claim which led the Sena to walk out of the saffron alliance and join hands with its ideological and political rivals Congress and the NCP to form the MVA government.
Uddhav described the rebellion in his party that cost him his government as a "mockery of democracy and waste of people's votes".
Commenting on the recent political upheaval in the state, triggered by a revolt in the Shiv Sena, Uddhav stressed on the Right to Recall procedure for public representatives.
On the Aarey Metro car depot issue, Uddhav asked the BJP not to betray Mumbai like it "betrayed" him in politics.
Uddhav said he was saddened by the new government's plan to relocate the Metro car shed to Aarey Colony, which enjoys the state of a reserved forest, from Kanjurmarg in suburabn Mumbai.
He said, "I request with folded hands. Don't vent out your anger against me in Mumbai. Don't stab Mumbai in its heart. I am very upset that Aarey's decision has been overturned. This is not personal property."
(With PTI inputs)