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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Shiv Sena MLA likely to back down for BJP’s state chief in Jalna

Arjun Khotkar met Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at the latter’s residence, Matoshree, in Bandra on Saturday, to discuss the issue.

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 17, 2019 04:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Mumbai
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Shiv Sena minister Arjun Khotkar, who had vowed to contest the Jalna Lok Sabha seat against state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Raosaheb Danve, despite the saffron alliance, is likely to back down. (HT File)

Shiv Sena minister Arjun Khotkar, who had vowed to contest the Jalna Lok Sabha seat against state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Raosaheb Danve, despite the saffron alliance, is likely to back down.

Khotkar is a four-time legislator, while Danve is four-time member of Parliament (MP) from the constituency.

Khotkar met Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at the latter’s residence, Matoshree, in Bandra on Saturday, to discuss the issue. Thackeray asked Khotkar to go back on his decision to contest from Jalna. This was his second meeting with Thackeray this month.

However, the final call on the issue will be taken on Sunday. “BJP and Sena are holding a joint meeting in Aurangabad on Sunday. Before the meeting, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Khotkar and Danve are likely to meet separately,” said a senior Sena functionary.

Speaking to the media on Saturday, Khotkar said, “I will abide by what our leader [Thackeray] says.” Khotkar was preparing to contest the polls against Danve in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections when the Sena had announced it would go solo. After the alliance was announced, Khotkar refused to withdraw his decision and sought Thackeray’s permission for a friendly contest against Danve. Earlier this week, Khotkar met Abdul Sattar, Congress MLA from Aurangabad, sparking speculation that Khotkar would move parties.

Meanwhile, even with the Jalna issue seemingly put to rest, BJP continues to face opposition from Sena in the Mumbai North East constituency, represented by MP Kirit Somaiya. Sena leaders said the party has insisted that BJP give candidature to anyone but Somaiya, after he indirectly referred to the Thackeray family’s BMC reign as “mafia raj” during the 2017 civic polls.

First Published: Mar 17, 2019 04:36 IST