With pre-poll surveys predicting BJP’s emergence as the single largest party in Maharashtra, talks have begun about who in the party will be the chief minister.
While Pankaja Munde, MLA and daughter of top BJP leader Gopinath Munde, who was killed in a car crash in June, said the “public sentiment” was for her to occupy the coveted post, state party chief Devendra Fadnavis said “there are no front runners or back runners” in the race.
“I have never staked claim to chief ministership. I had said the work I will do will contribute to the making of a BJP chief Minister in Maharashtra and I have done that,” Pankaja, Gopinath Munde’s political heir, said after casting her vote in her Parli constituency in Beed district said.
“But, there was the feeling among people that Munde Saheb should become the CM … Probably I also have his (Munde) blessings… And the public sentiment is also the same, but I have never claimed that I should be the CM,” she said.
Maharashtra BJP president Devendra Fadnavis, considered a favourite for the post by many, however, said, “There are no front runners and back runners. In BJP it is the Legislature Party and Parliamentary Board which decides.”
Fadnavis, who is said to have the backing of Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, also defended the party’s decision to project the Prime Minister as BJP’s “face” during the election campaign.
“Modi has the credibility nobody else has. He addressed 27 election rallies, each attended by no less than two lakh people. This means more than 50 lakh people feel directly connected to Modi. No other leader from any party could connect with even ten per cent of that,” he said.