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Day after Shah-Thackeray meet in Mumbai, Shiv Sena keeps BJP guessing

While the Sena lost the bitterly contested Palghar bypoll to its ally BJP, Thackeray reiterated on Thursday that he would not accept defeat.

mumbai Updated: Jun 08, 2018 11:01 IST
Shah-Thackeray meet,Amit Shah in Mumbai,BJP president
BJP president BJP Amit Shah and CM Devendra Fadnavis met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and son Aditya at their residence in Mumbai on Wednesday.(HT File)

A day after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to convince the Sena to get into an alliance, Thackeray on Thursday signalled that his party could go solo for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Thackeray, who addressed party workers in Talasari, 125km from Mumbai, projected Srinivas Wanga as the Sena’s candidate for the Palghar Lok Sabha seat in 2019. Palghar has been BJP’s seat and Wanga is the son of the late BJP MP Chintaman Wanga. Srinivas Wanga was inducted into the Sena days ahead of the Palghar Lok Sabha bypolls, which were necessitated by his father’s death.

While the Sena lost this bitterly contested bypoll to its ally BJP, Thackeray reiterated on Thursday that he would not accept defeat. “All of this [the recent meetings] is just drama. Picture toh ab baaki hai [the scenario is yet to unfold]. You are the hero of this movie which will release in 2019,” Thackeray told Wanga, while addressing the cadre.

He told Wanga that they got only 15 days to prepare for the bypolls, but have eight-nine months for the Lok Sabha polls. “You should not rest until you become the MP. We can’t let go of this seat,” he said.

He also questioned the BJP win, pointing out that the victory was because of many names going missing from the voters’ list, bogus voting and malfunctioning of the electronic voting machines. Thackeray said the Sena would continue to oppose the BJP’s projects.

Shah is learnt to have offered a favourable agreement for the state polls – a 50:50 seat sharing formula, if the Sena goes with the BJP for the Lok Sabha polls. He also promised two to three meetings with senior leaders of both parties to sort out grievances and discuss an alliance.

Senior Sena leaders said the leadership was cautious and would continue their aggressive stand for now, despite Shah’s attempts to make amends.

During the meeting between Thackeray and Shah, the former is said to have taken up issues such as lack of communication within the National Democratic Alliance and no role in decision-making in the state government. “The BJP has backstabbed us in the past,” said a Sena leader.

“The sticking points and polls were discussed. The Sena chief agreed that Hindutva must not take a backseat owing to their bickering,” said a senior BJP leader.

First Published: Jun 08, 2018 10:59 IST