The Shiv Sena, even before joining hands with the Republican Party of India (RPI) seems to have started giving the latter lessons on protocol to be followed while dealing with Sena chief Bal Thackeray.
Ramdas Athawale, the RPI chief who was in all steam on Friday after meeting Bharatiya Janata Party leader Nitin Gadkari, was set to meet Thackeray on Saturday morning, until he got a call saying the meeting was cancelled.
According to Sena sources, Thackeray did not appreciate Athawale meeting Gadkari before he met the Sena, and giving statements on joining the Sena-BJP combine in Maharashtra on Friday itself.
"When the meeting between Balasaheb and Athawale was scheduled on Saturday, and since the initiation of this partnership was made by the Sena, the RPI leader should know that he should not meet the BJP first," a senior Sena leader said on condition of anonymity.
On Friday, Gadkari had made an offer to the RPI to join the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre saying that without a Dalit-hold the Congress will not be able to come into power.
Sources said the Sena was not comfortable with the RPI dealing directly with BJP and the latter inviting Athawale to join the NDA. A section in the Sena are wooried that the BJP could change it course and join hands with the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and take the RPI along with it.
On Saturday, Athawale told the Hindustan Times that the meeting with Thackeray was not a confirmed one and could not comment on why the Sena mouthpiece Saamna, had announced it.
He also clarified that on Friday he had received a call from Gadkari, who was in town, and so he went to meet him.
"The meeting with the Sena chief and his son Uddhav is now scheduled on May 9. We will discuss issues such as the price rise, the Jaitapur nuclear power project and fighting corruption that will form a part of the common minimum programme that we are chalking out. After that we will announce our partnership," said Athawale.