MUMBAI: Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Friday questioned the BJP's decision to install a ''so-called Shiv Sainik'' as Maharashtra chief minister when it did not keep its 2019 promise of rotating the top post.
Addressing a press conference at Shiv Sena Bhavan, the party headquarters at Dadar in central Mumbai, Thackeray also made a fervent appeal to the Ekanth Shinde-led government not to go ahead with the Metro-3 car shed project at Aarey Colony. In their first cabinet meeting held on Thursday, Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis directed the state administration to submit a proposal to build the Metro-3 car shed in Aarey Colony instead of Kanjurmarg. The Thackeray-led government had shifted the proposed car shed site to Kanjurmarg from Aarey Colony, but it got embroiled in a legal dispute.
Thackeray asked the BJP why it first denied that there was no agreement on rotational chief minister two-and-a-half years ago. Had the BJP agreed, the change of power would have happened in a graceful and dignified manner, he said.
He also asked what BJP gained when it doesn't have its own chief minister even for the rest of the term.
''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. Had everything taken place as decided between me and Amit Shah, the change of power would have been graceful and I would not have become the chief minister or the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) would not have been formed,'' Thackeray said.
Asserting that Eknath Shinde is ''not a Shiv Sena chief minister'', Thackeray said there can be no Shiv Sena by keeping the party aide.
Springing a surprise, Fadnavis on Thursday evening announced that Shinde would be the new chief minister of the state. A group of nearly 39 MLAs rebelled against Thackeray last week, demanding that the Sena should quit the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA). The rebellion led to the collapse of the Thackeray government.
''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,'' Thackeray said.
On Aarey Metro carshed, Thackeray asked the BJP not to betray Mumbai like it ''betrayed'' him.
Thackeray said he was saddened by the new Maharashtra government's plan to relocate the metro car shed to Aarey Colony from Kanjurmarg in Mumbai.
''I am very upset. If you are angry at me, then vent it out, but don't stab Mumbai in its heart. I am very upset that Aarey's decision has been overturned. This is not personal property,'' Thackeray said.
After coming to power in 2019, Thackeray had decided not to go ahead with the construction of the Metro-3 car shed in Aarey Colony - a forest land tract adjoining the Sanjay Gandhi National Park - a decision taken by the then chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. ''I had stayed the decision. I have given an option of Kanjurmarg. I am with environment and the environmentalists. One should avoid any act if there is confusion.
''Let the Metro car shed project be at Kanjurmarg and not in Aarey. I am with the environmentalists and we had declared Aarey as a reserved forest. Wildlife exists in that forest,'' he said.
Thackeray said his apprehension is that once Aarey witnesses public movement, it will hurt the wildlife around.
He described the rebellion in his party as a mockery of democracy and waste of people's vote.
Commenting on the recent political developments that saw the fall of his government, Thackeray stressed on the Right to Recall for public representatives.