After CM-PM meet, Shiv Sena softens stance, calls Modi India’s top leader
Two days after the one-on-one meeting between chief minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray and Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, Shiv Sena – known for its acerbic tone against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and PM Modi – has softened its stance.
Sena parliamentarian Sanjay Raut refused to comment when questioned on media reports suggesting that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) may not use Modi as a face in the upcoming Assembly polls as his popularity may be on a decline. He, however, said that Modi is still the top leader in BJP and in the country, and the party’s success in the past seven years, is due to the PM.
“I will not comment on it. There is no official statement on it. BJP owes its success in the past seven years to Modi. At present, Modi is still the tallest leader of the country and BJP,” Raut, who is on a tour of north Maharashtra, said at Nashik.
The comments reflect a change in the Sena leader’s tone. Last month, Raut had blamed Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah for BJP’s defeat in West Bengal elections.
However, the Sena leader also said that PM must not campaign for elections. He said that it puts additional pressure on the machinery.
“The Shiv Sena’s stand has always been that the PM belongs to the country and not one party... Hence, PM shouldn’t get involved in campaigning,” he said.
Meanwhile, Raut’s north Maharashtra tour is aimed at strengthening the organisation in the region.
He said that though Sena is a part of the ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance with NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) and the Congress, all parties have the right to grow their outfits.
“The alliance partners of MVA have a right to expand their base and strengthen the parties. We [MVA allies] are also holding meetings to strengthen our coordination with each other,” the Sena leader added.