Mumbai: Raj Thackeray is seen as one of the big game-changers in the Maharashtra elections. His party, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, split the Shiv Sena's vote in the Lok Sabha polls and cost the party seats in its bastion, Mumbai. Now, as the state gears up for election day, Raj Thackeray says the next government in the state cannot be formed without his help.
Thackeray spoke to NDTV's Priyanka Kakodkar.
NDTV: How decisive a role will your party play in the coming election? It's a very big election for you.
Thackeray: I have said this earlier - that no government can be formed without my help. This is not my over-confidence. When you move around, you realize that that people are angry with the Congress-NCP. But the Opposition has failed to gain the confidence of the people.
NDTV: You have said you will support any alliance, which supports your agenda.
Thackeray: It doesn't matter to me or the people...
NDTV: If both the Sena-BJP and the Congress-NCP are within striking chance of power, and agree with your agenda, which would you support?
Thackeray: Anyone. It doesn't make a difference.
NDTV: If it's a close contest, and Balasaheb Thackeray calls and asks you to support the Sena-BJP to form the government, would you?
Thackeray: My political agenda comes first. I have love and respect for Bal Thackeray. He's my uncle, my relative. But at the end of the day, I have to think about politics as well.
NDTV: Will you support the government from outside or be a part of it?
Thackeray: I will support the government. I don't want to carry their burden. Why should I clean up the mess they left behind?
NDTV: What about your political ambitions? No one from the Thackeray family has been chief minister. Is this a role you see for yourself in the future?
Thackeray: If I want to be the CM, I will be.
NDTV: So it is something you would like?
Thackeray: The problems won't get solved just by making me CM or not. What's more important is that the issues are solved.