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Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019

From tie-up to dinner invite: Shiv Sena, BJP stage show of unity in Mumbai

On Saturday, Thackeray called a meeting of all district and taluka chiefs to explain to them the five major reasons behind his decision to forge an alliance with their oldest ally on Monday

mumbai Updated: Feb 24, 2019 00:39 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at the party meeting in Sena Bhavan, Dadar, on Saturday.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at the party meeting in Sena Bhavan, Dadar, on Saturday.(Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)
         

After bickering with the ruling partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), for more than four years, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has started making efforts to put up a united show ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. On Saturday, Thackeray called a meeting of all district and taluka chiefs to explain to them the five major reasons behind his decision to forge an alliance with their oldest ally on Monday.

Meanwhile, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has also invited all Sena legislators for dinner at his official residence, Varsha, on February 25.

The Sena meeting, which was called at the party headquarters — Shiv Sena Bhavan—in Dadar, was also attended by many MPs. The Sena chief’s justifications come in the wake of his announcement to not forge an alliance with the BJP in 2018, his criticism of the decisions taken by Narendra Modi-led National Defence Alliance (NDA) government and the pre-poll alliance announced by the two parties on Monday.

“The reasons cited by the Sena chief were — Hindutva agenda, which both the parties follow; construction of the Ram Mandir; shifting of the proposed Nanar oil refinery project from Konkan, considered as Sena’s bastion; resolution of farmers’ issues; and the united opposition,” said a senior Sena leader, who did not wish to be named. The leader said that while the first four issues are directly related to the Sena, the pre-poll alliance between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party and their efforts to stitch a grand alliance cannot be ignored as it would be crucial for the elections.

Sena Rajya Sabha MP Anil Desai said the meeting was called to prepare for the ensuing elections. “We want to be prepared for the general elections. It is part of our daily routine. Also, there is no cribbing and resentment in the party unlike what the media tries to project. We all follow the decision of the Sena president as we know it will be in the best interests of the party,” Desai said.

Fadnavis has meanwhile invited all Sena legislators for dinner diplomacy at his official residence, where BJP legislators will also be present. “The BJP also want to send a message that both the parties are now united, leaving past behind. They want to put up a united show in the budget session of the state legislature, commencing from February 25,” said a Sena functionary.