In a subtle hint of his hopes of the BJP and Shiv Sena jointly contesting the next year's polls, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said that all "secular but Hindutva" parties would come together to counter the "pseudo-secular" opposition.
He said the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance broke before the 2014 state polls because of the Uddhav Thackeray-led party's "adamant" attitude on seat-sharing.
"The Shiv Sena may be a party led by Uddhav Thackeray, but it is run on the ethos of late Balasaheb Thackeray. Looking at the current situation, I can say that all secular, but Hindutva parties will come together to counter the pseudo-secular opposition parties," he said.
"This was Balasaheb's thinking as well," Fadnavis said.
The chief minister made the comments on Tuesday while being interviewed by Sanjay Raut, the Sena's Rajya Sabha member and executive editor of its mouthpiece 'Saamana', at a Lokmat Group programme here.
Lokmat Group chairman and Rajya Sabha member Vijay Darda was also present at the event.
Raut asked Fadnavis how he knew the Sena's future plans when he could not even predict the next move of the RSS.
To this, the chief minister said, "The Shiv Sena is a political party and hence it is easy to predict what it will do in future." "The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) does not have any political compulsions. Its programmes are fixed at times a year in advance and it executes them as per their schedule," Fadnavis said.
When Raut asked him why Bal Thackeray's Hindutva ideology was forgotten by the BJP in 2014 when it snapped ties with the Sena, Fadnavis blamed the estranged ally for being adamant for just four more seats.
"We had offered you 147 seats, but you were adamant on 151. Had you accepted our offer, the Sena would have got more seats than the BJP (in the ensuing Assembly polls), and either Uddhavji or you would have become the CM," the CM retorted.
He denied that Prime Minister Narendra Modi or BJP chief Amit Shah held the "remote control" of the Maharashtra government.
"He (Modi) has asked us not to take populist measures. He says don't take populist measures and don't make announcements that cannot be implemented," said Fadnavis.
The chief minister also appealed to all political parties to introspect whether they were glorifying criminals by inducting them. People too should decide if such criminals should be elected, he said.
Fadnavis denied that he had failed as the state's home minister, saying the conviction rate is important and not the crime rate.
"In the last three years, we have taken the rate of conviction to 32 per cent from 8 per cent. That is my achievement....(late NCP leader and former home minister) RR Patil had once told me that the CM must keep the Home portfolio with himself, because most of the decisions of the department are given a final nod by the CM," he said.
To a question on former Congress leader Narayan Rane, Fadnavis said the Sena-Rane's former party--should introspect why the BJP had to take him in.
"(We joined hands with him). Because you are giving us indifferent treatment," he quipped.