Stating that long standing ties with its saffron ally have been normalised, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray today said BJP chief Rajnath Singh and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi have assured him that MNS will not be included in the 'Mahayuti' (grand alliance).
"MNS will not be included in the alliance at any cost and an assurance to this effect has been given by Rajnath Singh and Narendra Modi. There is no need to fear split in votes because people will vote for a stable and strong government and show the door to spoilers," Uddhav said in the last part of his interview to party mouth piece 'Saamana'.
The Shiv Sena-BJP ties were cordial and tensions happened because of one person, Uddhav said without naming BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, who had met MNS chief Raj Thackeray.
He did not wish to react to Gadkari's comments post the meeting (with Raj Thackeray) that Sena had overreacted.
"The question is whether he was authorised to initiate talks with Raj and whether he had spoken to all the alliance partners before doing so," he said.
On MNS fielding candidates against Sena nominees, Uddhav said Raj's party had also put up candidates where NCP was contesting but not against BJP.
Uddhav said Rajnath Singh and Modi were in constant touch with him.
"Shiv Sena has been the oldest ally of the BJP and has been with the party through thick and thin. People like Ram Vilas Paswan are joining because things are looking good for the BJP-led NDA," he said.
Uddhav also expressed confidence that AAP factor will not work in Maharashtra. "In Delhi, if BJP had declared its chief ministerial candidate on time, the party could have got majority," he said.
When asked about Sena contesting elections outside Maharashtra, Uddhav said the party is functioning in about 18 states.
"Shiv Sainiks in states like Gujarat, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir are functioning keeping Bal Thackeray's ideals in mind. I have told them to contest elections but not at the cost of hurting BJP's prospects," he said.