In rare invite to Devendra Fadnavis, Shiv Sena hints a tweak in its strategy
The Shiv Sena has invited Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis as the chief guest to its 53rd foundation day celebrations on Wednesday evening in Mumbai, which party leaders say is a strategic move ahead of the assembly polls in the state.
This is a rare step given that the Sena does not call ‘outsiders’ to their internal party functions.
“Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray gave this invite to Fadnavis and the idea behind this is to send a signal to our cadre that the alliance is here to stay and to boost their morale as we head into the assembly polls together,” said a Sena leader, who did not want to be named.
Fadnavis is also expected to address Sena’s cadre at the Shanmukhanand auditorium in the capital city of Maharashtra.
Before this, the BJP’s president and now Union home minister Amit Shah invited Uddhav Thackeray to Gujarat when he filed his nomination paper for the national polls and Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to the Sena chief as his younger brother.
The cosiness between the allies during and after their victory in the April-May Lok Sabha election is a turnaround from the bitter ties in the earlier four and a half years. The alliance has served both the parties.
“Thackeray knows that if the Sena has to have any bargaining power with the BJP post assembly polls it will have to increase its tally of 63 seats. And, the Sena chief is convinced that the saffron parties will come to power given the state of the opposition, so the party has changed its track,” a senior BJP leader said.
Much of the credit for smoothening the relationship with the Shiv Sena goes to Fadnavis, who after senior BJP leader Pramod Mahajan seems to have learnt that the best way to stay in power is to keep ally comfortable.
The Shiv Sena was founded by Balasaheb Thackeray in 1966.
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