Former BJP president Nitin Gadkari on Thursday described the Saamna editorial that dubbed him an astute “businessman” after he requested MNS chief Raj Thackeray not to contest the Lok Sabha elections, as “unfortunate and uncalled for”.
Gadkari claimed that he met Raj Thackeray as an NDA member and not as a BJP leader, just to ensure that the anti-Congress-NCP votes in the state are not divided. The meeting also triggered speculation that the BJP was trying to win over the MNS chief into NDA for electoral alliance ahead of the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.
However, Gadkari’s cosying up to Raj upset Shiv Sena and its leader Uddhav Thackeray who targeted the former BJP chief in an editorial of Sena mouthpiece “Saamna”. Reacting sharply to the Gadkari-Raj meeting, Uddhav wrote in the newspaper that there was a big communication gap within the BJP created by those praising the Congress and NCP leaders.
Uddhav, who is not in favour to rope in Raj in the NDA, also said that there was no need for any negotiation with Raj and his party as allies don’t require them in the NDA. “If senior leader from BJP supports Raj and Sharad Pawar, it can affect our grand alliance (BJP-Sena-RPI),” he said.
Uddhav continued, “His (Gadkari) speciality is such that without giving any dakshina or toll he has proposed that MNS chief back him or give support. In politics, there wouldn’t have been such a mast (great) deal! Gadkari’s business instincts should be credited for such a deal.”
Reacting on the editorial Gadkari said that there was no reason for the Sena to be annoyed. “Our aim was to keep the anti-Cong-NCP votes intact and if MNS fields candidates it would benefit the Congress and the NCP,” he reasoned.
On the recent protests by AAP in Delhi and some other parts of the country after the detention of Arvind Kejriwal in Gujarat, Gadkari alleged that AAP is an anarchist party.
“They have no knowledge about model code of conduct as it’s a new party,” he quipped.