Mumbai: It is now almost clear that the Shiv Sena will have the CM’s post, when it presides over the three-party alliance. Though there have been strong signals that Uddhav Thackeray will be the next Chief Minister, but the buzz also is that in case Uddhav prefers to control the government by remote – somewhat like his father – then the choice may well be a die-hard party loyalist like Arvind Sawant.
Flashback: In 1995, when the Shiv Sena-BJP government come to power, Sena patriarch Balasaheb Thackeray nominated Manohar Joshi as the chief minister.
In those heady days, the Sena workers were on a high as their supreme leader, instead becoming the chief minister, gave the chance to a Sainik.
Uddhav, too, may walk in the footsteps of his father. As it is, he has never fought an election like his father and gives more importance to his organisation and the rank and file.
He was not even in favour of his son Aaditya contesting the election but relented on insistence from his wife Rashmi. Uddhav is 59 years old and suffering from heart ailments. In 2012, he underwent angioplasty twice; in May 2016, he had undergone angiography.
The CM post requires a hands-on person who can slog for at least 15 hours a day. The CM has to chair a number of meetings, undertake tours across the state and attend a large number of events orgainsed by social, cultural and business orgainisations.
He also has to mark his presence in legislature and reply to both the houses. The CM’s post also needs extreme physical fitness, stamina and endurance.
Thackeray's health may not permit him to take up this job which will have a 24-hour work cycle. Also, by accepting the CM post, he cannot pay full attention to his party which will be relentlessly under attack from the BJP.
On the flip side, he also lacks legislative and administrative experience. And, by the time, he has honed the skills of administration, half the term will be over and the post will go to the NCP.
Even the Congress is opposed to anyone from the Thackeray family becoming the CM due to their pan-India Hindutva image. As against this, Sawant is a seasoned legislator; he is also an organisation man who has come up from the ranks: he started his political career with as a 'gat pramukh', the lowest rank in the party pecking order.
He is articulate and has command over English, Hindi and Marathi. He has also served as Union Minister of Heavy Industries for six months and is an engineer by qualification.
He was applauded for relinquishing the ministerial post at the Centre immediately after Thackeray ordered. Most important, he is considered as a staunch loyalist of the Thackeray family who is amiable and accessible.