Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray’s indication that the next Maharashtra chief minister could be a woman has created ripples as various names are circulating as a possible incumbent. At the same time, he is facing flak with charges that he is trying to promote his wife Rashmi. Uddhav said at a function in Mumbai on November 30 that the joint efforts by three dominant forces in Maharashtra polity – Shiv Shakti (meaning Sena), Bheem Shakti (Dalit factions) and Lahu Shakti – would aim at installing a competent chief minister, man or woman. This statement is interpreted variously to either support Uddhav or criticize him. The function was organized to commemorate the armed struggle launched by freedom fighter Ustad Lahuji Salve against British over a century ago. The names of NCP MP Supriya Sule, former minister Pankaja Munde and Uddhav’s wife Rashmi Thackeray immediately began circulating. Although no prominent leader has so far reacted to this idea, independent MP Navnit Rana has alleged that Uddhav is trying to promote the prospects of his wife. “What he says and what he does are two different things,” Rana quipped. While Sule has been in parliament since 2006, Pankaja shot to prominence after 2014 when she publicly said she was an aspirant for the CM’s post. Critics say that Rashmi can enter the arena just like dark horse Uddhav grabbed the post in 2019.