Mumbai: All "secular but Hindutva" parties will come together to counter the "pseudo-secular" opposition, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said, as he indicated that the BJP and its bickering ally Shiv Sena will fight the 2019 polls together. "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 while speaking at the event in Mumbai. Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena's Rajya Sabha member and executive editor of its mouthpiece `Saamana', interviewed Fadnavis.
Raut asked Fadnavis how did he know the Sena's future plans when he can't even predict what was the RSS's next move. "The Shiv Sena is a political party and hence it is easy to predict what will it do in future. The RSS does not have any political compulsions. Their programmes are fixed at times a year in advance and they execute them as per their schedule," Fadnavis said.
When Raut asked why Bal Thackeray's Hindutva ideology was forgotten by the BJP in 2014 when it snapped the 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 ensuing Assembly polls), and either Uddhav-ji or you would have become the CM," Fadnavis retorted.
He denied that Prime Minister Narendra Modi or BJP chief Amit Shah hold 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. He denied that he has failed as the state's Home Minister, and said not the crime rate but the conviction rate is important.
"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) R R Patil had once told me that the CM must keep the home portfolio with himself, because most of the decisions of the Home department are given the final nod by the CM," Fadnavis said.
On 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 step-motherly treatment," he quipped.