A day after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar ruled out support to the BJP-led government in Maharashtra, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday said in Delhi that there were no differences between his party and the Shiv Sena and that they would contest Mumbai civic polls together in 2017.
“There are no differences between BJP and Shiv Sena. We will contest Mumbai civic polls with Sena, we are clear about this. Besides Mumbai, we will also have an alliance in other big civic corporation polls including Nagpur and Pune,” said Fadnavis in Delhi.
He also spoke of a cabinet expansion after Bihar polls, where allies would get accommodated.
However, as HT had reported on Thursday, the allies had taken a step towards reconciliation with Fadnavis giving a delegation of Sena ministers a patient hearing to their complaints. The Sena ministers had also been told to attend cabinet meeting and tone down criticism of BJP. Sources said that top brass in both the parties had decided not to stretch their tussle to a point of no return given that both needed one another.
In Mumbai, the BJP on Thursday held a state-level meeting to chalk out its strategy for a massive outreach programme to tom-tom the state government’s achievements in its first year in power. BJP’s focus was on its expansion plans and 11-day programme from October 19 to October 31 to publicise decisions taken by party led-government across the 288-assembly seats up to the booth level. The meeting, attended by all party legislators, MPs, ministers, district level leaders, was addressed by CM Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra BJP president Rao Saheb Danve and V Satish. All the three asked party leaders to move away from the ‘mind set’ of being in the opposition, equip themselves to take the opposition’s criticism head on and engage with the public in a big way.
Shiv Sena also threatened to disrupt Pakistani artiste Ghulam Ali’s concert to be held in Delhi, in November.
BJP has planned public interactions through meetings in a big way with the professional middle class — doctors, teachers, government servants — to discuss the impact of government’s decisions in the last one year, across the state.