Amid an atmosphere of political suspense in Maharashtra, a banner proclaiming BJP's Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as the Future CM has suddenly caught the attention of people on Tuesday.
The banner, reportedly put up by his supporter/s, has hailed former CM Fadnavis as a Future CM', though the real reasons behind it are not clear.
Unfazed by the abrupt promotion', Fadnavis, currently on election campaign in Karnataka, promptly told mediapersons that if it's so, "then just tear it up".
He also took pains to reiterate that Chief Minister Eknath Shinde will continue in his post till 2024 (when Maharashtra goes to the polls).
Fadnavis' comments came even as a reportedly miffed Shinde went on a surprise three-day leave' to his hometown in Satara on Monday.
Nationalist Congress Party's (NCP) national spokesperson Clyde Crasto has speculated that Shinde may be upset as the BJP wants him to "switch roles" with Fadnavis.
On the other hand, Shiv Sena's (UBT) national spokesperson Kishore Tiwari said that "perhaps, Shinde knows his time has come and may be preparing to pack up", even as Fadnavis prepares to fly to Mauritius later this week.
There has been a fierce debate after reports suggesting how, lured by the purported offer of CM's post, NCP's leader of opposition Ajit Pawar was planning to join the BJP with some 38 MLAs.
However, top NCP leaders, starting from his uncle Sharad Pawar, cousin Supriya Sule, state party chief Jayant Patil and others, have trashed all such speculation on Ajit Pawar.
In Maharashtra, Future CM' posters are becoming quite the norm in recent months, and serve to stir the political cauldron, albeit briefly.
In March, the one-MLA party Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's President Raj Thackeray was anointed as a Hindu Jannayak' and the future CM in the minds of the people' of the state.
Earlier, there were posters/banners of NCP's top leaders like Ajit Pawar, Sule and Patil with the Future CM' tag, and prior to that even Shiv Sena (UBT) President and ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray's son Aditya Thackeray was seen straddling a banner as Future CM'.
Some other leaders are also vying for attention with self-proclaimed titles or honorifics - a Pune Congressman recently decided to call himself a 'Future MP' - to cash in on the current political situation.