A fortnight ago, in this very column, I wrote an open letter to the chief minister of Maharashtra. In the past, I have written open letters to Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Raj Thackeray and many others: None of them have chosen to reply. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised when Devendra Fadnavis took the trouble of replying in some detail to the questions raised over governance issues.

Dear Devendraji,

Firstly, I wish to thank you for replying to my open letter and creating space for a public debate. This is a sign of a truly healthy democracy and is rare for a politician in this day and age. I truly appreciate that a big politician chooses to reply to a humble columnist: doesn't happen too often in an age where the media is a soft target. However, while I do not wish this to become a tu to main main, I must reserve the right to reply.

A Mahabharata is being played out in Maharashtra even before Election Day. For the BJP Shiv Sena alliance, it's all about kaun banega mukhya mantri. The saffron alliance knows its in pole position to capture power, but wants something more: it wants the kursi of the chief minister.

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