Fadnavis uses Saamana to mend ties with Uddhav
While the CM wrote a special piece for Thackeray on his birthday, paying an ode to his “logical thinking”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out on Twittermumbai Updated: Jul 28, 2016 01:01 IST
Mumbai: On Uddhav Thackeray’s 56th birthday, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis used the Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamna – through which some of its fiercest attacks on the BJP have been launched – to signal a fresh attempt to reconcile with his ally, addressing the Sena chief as an “elder brother”.
The irony was hard to miss.
Just a day ago, the same pages saw Thackeray make some of his strongest statements in recent times, threatening to pull the plug on the Fadnavis government.
On Wednesday, the BJP and its top leaders seemed to have put the insults behind.
While Fadnavis wrote a special piece for Thackeray on his birthday, paying an ode to his “logical thinking”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out on Twitter and so did Union home minister Rajnath Singh. Sources said even BJP ministers in the state called Thackeray and wished him.
“Warm birthday wishes to the leader of Shiv Sena, Shri Uddhav Thackeray. May he lead a long life filled with great health...”PM Modi wrote on Twitter. Rajnath Singh wrote: “Warm wishes to Shiv Sena leader Shri Uddhav Thackeray on his birthday today. May God bless him with good health and long life.”
In Saamna, Fadnavis wrote: “He [Thackeray] is large-hearted as a friend and the friendship we share is a real one. Be it Balasaheb or Uddhav, we have always shared a familial bond.”
Writing on, Fadnavis agreed that while the two parties have had differences of opinion, they were not as strong as perceived.
“The media often paints as if he is opposing the government. We are two different parties and our styles of working are different. Hence, there will be differences. If there weren’t any, shouldn’t we merge?” Fadavis wrote.
Insiders in both parties also insist Fadnavis’ high praise for Thackeray is not a one-off. The chief minister has been trying to build a rapport with Thackeray and 10 days ago, drove down to Matoshree and had dinner with him, they said.
“At the dinner, Fadnavis seemed sincere and very cooperative. The CM said he will ensure the BJP top brass communicates better with the Sena and the Sena will be accommodated and that the two parties should fight the upcoming civic polls together,” said a source close to Thackeray.
The Sena chief, aides said, sees no reason to disbelieve Fadnavis.
“But, what we don’t know is whether Fadnavis can actually ensure a better deal for the Sena, if the party leadership isn’t open to it,” said a senior Sena leader.
Such doubts combined with the fear that the Sena rank and file, already upset with the BJP’s treatment, will perceive him to be ‘soft’ on the BJP, will ensure Thackeray, at least for now, will not stop criticising the BJP.
Thackeray may have however arrived at, what he believes, is the most plausible arrangement – criticise the Centre and PM Modi, even while backing Fadnavis and avoiding public criticism of the state government.
This arrangement was adequately displayed in Thackeray’s three-part interview that appeared in the Saamna, where he constantly slammed PM Modi while insisting that he shared warm relations with Fadnavis.