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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, December 26, 2012
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, who was re-elected as the leader of BJP legislature party in the recent Assembly polls, has invited Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray as a special invitee to his swearing-in ceremony scheduled on Wednesday.

While Raj has decided to attend the ceremony at Ahmedabad, it is unclear whether his cousin Uddhav Thackeray, executive president of Shiv Sena - ally of BJP - has been invited. Sena leaders remained tightlipped on the issue.

A press release issued by the MNS stated that Raj was attending the ceremony just to respect Modi's invitation. He would be accompanied by wife Sharmila and son Amit.

Just a year ago, Raj, who shares good equation with Modi, had gone to Gujarat twice - once to study the development there and later to offer support to Modi during his Sadbhavana fast in September.

In August last year, Raj had visited Gujarat with his party leaders and media personnel to study the developmental activity undertaken by Modi. Since then, he has been praising Modi for his development initiatives. Uddhav had, at the time, remarked that some leaders (read Raj) were slowly becoming brand ambassadors of other states.

Last month, after Sena chief Bal Thackeray's death, Modi had taken time out of his campaigning to visit Matoshree to condole Uddhav.