The Shiv Sena, which is an ally of the BJP-led Maharashtra government, has said the next chief minister of the state will be from Uddhav Thackeray's party.
The Sena made the claim in its mouthpiece ''Saamana'' on Wednesday, the day when Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis attended its foundation day function.
It said even though it has a tie-up with the BJP, the "Shiv Sena is an independent political entity".
"We have to resolve to turn the next Vidhan Sabha ''saffron'' and ensure that a Shiv Sena chief minister will be seated on the dais at the party's 54th foundation day next year," the Marathi daily said.
Taking stock of its 53-year-old history, the publication said the Shiv Sena's soul is its ''movement'' - be it for Hindu pride, Marathi "asmita" (identity) or rights of sons of the soil.
Terming Uddhav Thackeray as his "elder brother", Devendra Fadnavis during the function on Wednesday said the BJP-Sena alliance will have a thumping victory in the coming state Assembly polls, and that the issue of who will become chief minister and who will become deputy chief minister was secondary.
Last week, when state Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar's claimed that the next chief minister would be from the BJP, Yuva Sena secretary Varun Sardesai said the post will be rotated between the two allies.
Indicating that the Sena would drive a hard bargain before agreeing for an electoral tie-up, Varun Sardesai claimed both the parties will share the chief minister's post for 2.5 years each.
Varun Sardesai, a cousin of Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray, also tweeted that BJP president Amit Shah had "approved" the decision to have rotational chief ministership between the saffron outfits.
Another Sena leader earlier said Devendra Fadnavis declared on February 19 that both the parties would share "responsibilities" and also the number of seats for the Vidhan Sabha polls.
Interestingly, senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut said in February that the next chief minister of Maharashtra would be from his party.
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