Shiv Sena is likely to make a strong case for Aaditya Thackeray to be made the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra and may have already begun talks with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in this regard.
DNA, quoting party insiders, reported that Sena has set its eyes on a proposed cabinet expansion which is scheduled for either Friday and Saturday, and has backed the Thackeray scion for the Deputy CM's post. While the party previously maintained it won't make a case for an official post, Aaditya is now being projected as an ideal candidate to be second-in-command to Fadnavis although he has refused to comment on this.
If the reported proposal is approved by the BJP, it would be the first political post for 29-year-old Aaditya. It could also signal the start of a generational change in Shiv Sena, a party that has had a love-hate political relationship with BJP. In the recently-concluded Lok Sabha election, the two parties had once again combined forces for an impressive result. While Sena had won 18 parliamentary seats in Maharashtra, BJP had triumphed in 23 to leave the likes of Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party far behind.
Sena has also been vying for the Deputy Speaker's post in Lok Sabha and has proposed the name of Gajanan Kirtikar. Sena's Sanjay Raut had previously said that it is not a demand but his party's right. The BJP, however, has not yet officially accepted the proposal and there are reports that this post could be offered to a YSR Congress candidate. As such, Aaditya for the post of Deputy CM of Maharashtra may be a compromise solution between the two political parties. It could also be a shot in the arm for Sena ahead of Assembly election in Maharashtra later in 2019, if BJP agrees of course.
A person can hold a ministerial rank for six months, as per rules, if he/she is not a member of the state legislature. As such, Aaditya's elevation to the post of Deputy CM can be sealed pending a stamp of approval from the BJP. This may also be crucial because Aaditya is seen within the Shiv Sena as someone capable of galvanising party cadre.