The Bharatiya Janata Party has started its initiative to get smaller parties on board the saffron combine to win the next assembly elections, despite alliance partner Shiv Sena expressing unhappiness over the move.
Newly-elected state BJP president Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday called on MNS chief Raj Thackeray. Earlier, Sena had advised the BJP against wooing Raj, saying that the two-decade-old alliance was strong enough to win on its own.
Earlier this month, senior party leader Gopinath Munde met peasant leader and member of parliament Raju Shetty, and Mahadev Jankar, who heads the small political outfit Rashtriya Samaj Party. Jankar has publicly announced that his party would join the Sena-BJP-RPI alliance, while Shetty has reacted cautiously, claiming he would consider the offer only if his party agenda was admitted.
Wednesday’s meeting was another step in the direction of forming what Fadnavis called the Maharashtra Democratic Alliance. Fadnavis tried to keep the details of the meeting under wraps and announced that it was only a courtesy visit with no political agenda behind it. However, party insiders believe that Fadnavis expressed the need to join hands for the elections.
“Fadnavis has set the ball rolling in that direction. It is clear that without the consent from both the warring Thackeray brothers MNS cannot become part of the alliance. We will keep pursuing the issue and we hope for a positive response before the elections,” said a party leader.
Party leaders believe that it would succeed in shifting the 7% vote tally bagged by Republican Dawee Lokshahi Sammittee (RDLS) in 2009 for the MDA.