PM Modi-Uddhav Thackeray meeting raises eyebrows in Maharashtra
Eyebrows were raised in Maharashtra’s political circles as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a one-on-one meeting with Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray at the former’s official residence in Delhi on Tuesday. The meeting took place after a Thackeray-led delegation met Modi over Maratha reservation and various other issues.
Thackeray, along with his deputy Ajit Pawar and public works department minister Ashok Chavan, met Modi in Delhi on Tuesday over a number of issues, including Maratha and other backward classes (OBC) reservation, goods and services tax (GST) compensation, among others.
After the meeting, Modi had a separate meeting with Thackeray. Though Thackeray admitted to having held an in-person meeting with the PM, he did not divulge any details about it. According to a senior Shiv Sena leader, the meeting lasted for half-an-hour, in which Thackeray spoke about political issues. He also sought Modi’s intervention to resolve the issue of nomination of 12 members to the Legislative Council, which Governor BS Koshyari has not cleared for eight months.
“Yes, we had a separate meeting. We may not be politically together, but that does not mean that we have snapped our relationship. I did not go to meet Nawaz Sharif. There is nothing wrong in meeting Modiji in person. Tomorrow, even tell my colleagues and go to meet him,” Thackeray said.
“The appointment of 12 members from ruling parties to the Council or amicable solution in the car shed land parcel are political battles between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the ruling parties in Maharashtra. Both these issues can be resolved immediately if the Centre wants to. It may be recalled that the solution on the nomination of Thackeray to the Council was drawn immediately after he spoke to Modi last year. This time, too, Thackeray’s diplomacy may work in his favour,” said the Sena leader, seeking anonymity.
Another party leader said the CM would have discussed the issue of the action by central agencies against leaders from the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi.
“Central agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and enforcement directorate have been investigating cases against former home minister Anil Deshmukh and Shiv Sena legislator Pratap Sarnaik. There is a buzz of similar inquiry against Sena leader and minister Anil Parab. The CM may have had a word on it with the PM. Thackeray’s meeting with Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Monday had significance in the backdrop of the PM-CM meeting,” said the leader.
He also added that CM may have expressed his displeasure over the way the state unit of the BJP targets the MVA government.
Leader of opposition in legislative Assembly Devendra Fadnavis said that one-on-one meeting between the PM and the CM was not unprecedented. “I had been the chief minister of Maharashtra and would have a separate meeting with the PM whenever we went as a delegation to meet him. I am not aware of any such meeting, but I wish it would work in favour of the state.”
Fadnavis, however, slammed the state government for raising issues with the PM, saying the state needed to act first.
This was Thackeray’s second visit to Delhi after becoming the chief minister. He, along with son and state minister Aaditya Thackeray, had paid a visit to Modi and other key leaders across party lines in February last year.
Political analyst Hemant Desai said, “By meeting PM separately, the CM has tried to keep a check on his ruling partners and the Opposition leaders too. Thackeray shares good relations with Modi and seldom attacks him personally. By meeting him in person, he has sent out a message to BJP leaders in the state too.”