2019 Lok Sabha polls: Uddhav Thackeray to accompany BJP chief Amit Shah while filing his nomination in Gujarat
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who was once involved in a bitter tussle with BJP chief Amit Shah, will be accompanying the latter as he files his nomination for the Lok Sabha election from Gandhinagar constituency in Gujarat on Saturday
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who was once involved in a bitter tussle with BJP chief Amit Shah, will be accompanying the latter as he files his nomination for the Lok Sabha election from Gandhinagar constituency in Gujarat on Saturday.
Shiv Sena leaders said Shah invited Thackeray to join him while filing the nomination form, and for a public rally, which the latter has accepted.
From equating PM Narendra Modi and his ministers to the army of Bijapur general Afzal Khan in 2014 to embracing the BJP’s leadership while announcing the alliance in February 2019, the ties between the Sena and BJP have seen many ups and downs.
The development is also significant in context of the cold war between the two leaders in the past. Shah, who is a Rajya Sabha MP, is all set to contest from Gandhinagar to get elected to the lower house of the Parliament.
A senior party functionary said Thackeray has accepted the invitation and will be heading to Gandhinagar on Saturday. “Amit Shah called Uddhavji on Wednesday to invite him personally. He accepted it immediately,” the functionary said, requesting anonymity. Sena secretary and personal assistant to Thackeray, Milind Narvekar, will be joining him in Gandhinagar. Thackeray will also attend a rally in the Gujarat capital on Saturday where senior BJP leader and union minister Nitin Gadkari will also be present.
Chiefs of other NDA allies, SAD supremo Parkash Singh Badal and LJP founder Ram Vilas Paswan are also expected to be present with Thackeray.
Senior party leaders have called Shah’s invitation a “good gesture” that befits the Sena chief. The Sena, in the past five years, had claimed the BJP did “not give due respect to the Sena chief”. A senior Sena leader said, “This is a welcome change in their attitude. Such camaraderie or oneness was missing. They have realised the importance of allies now.” Senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut said Thackeray will go to Gandhinagar “as a show of strength of NDA allies.”
In the five acrimonious years of the Sena-BJP association, the Sena has not let go of any opportunity to criticise PM, Shah, other senior BJP ministers or the policies of the BJP-led government at the Centre and in Maharashtra. During the Assembly election campaign in 2014, at the height of their tussle, Thackeray asked the voters to defeat the BJP, which he said was “conspiring to break the state into pieces”.
With the general election approaching, the BJP softened its approach against its allies, Sena leaders said. In June 2018, Shah came to Mumbai to meet Thackeray, to mollify the party and reconsider its decision to go solo in elections.