In a major climb-down, after threatening to disrupt Bihar's centenary-year celebrations scheduled in the city on Sunday, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray on Friday withdrew his objection to the event on the grounds that it was a non-political do.
Thackeray said he changed his mind after he spoke with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on the phone.
"Nitish Kumar assured me that it was a cultural programme and that there was no politics involved," Thackeray said after Kumar's aide and former Bihar minister, Deveshchandra Thakur, met him at his Shivaji Park residence on Friday.
On Thursday, Thackeray had challenged Kumar, who is the chief guest at Sunday's celebrations, at a public meeting, saying that he would not allow the programme to be conducted in Mumbai.
However, on Friday, he sang the minister's praises for his efficient governance of Bihar.
"I have no problem with Kumar coming to attend a cultural programme," he said, adding that Kumar assured him that his party, Janata Dal (U), does not have any political plans in Maharashtra.
Thackeray's decision has relieved the event organisers. "There was some misunderstanding and it has been cleared. We have not involved any politicians, and Nitish Kumar has been invited only in the capacity of being the head of the state," said Shatrughan Prasad, organiser, Bihar Centenary Festival Organising Committee.
As part of his anti-north Indian campaign, in 2008, Thackeray had targeted Chhath puja celebrations in the city and had had a verbal showdown with then Union railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.