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Thaw in saffron ties? Uddhav rally on Fadnavis home turf in Nagpur cancelled

Sena leaders, however, said rescheduling of the rally should not be read into, as other engagements of Thackeray have forced them to change plans.

mumbai Updated: Jan 31, 2019 01:20 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,uddhav thackeray,fadnavis
Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis (PTI File )

In an indication that Shiv Sena is leaving open the door for reconciliation with ally BJP, the former has decided not to kick-off its poll campaign with Uddhav Thackeray’s rally in Nagpur – the home turf of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and union minister Nitin Gadkari. The Sena had, earlier this month, announced it would hold a “mega rally” in Nagpur on February 2.

The move comes a couple of days after Thackeray convened a meeting of his party MPs, in which he suggested that he would be willing to reconsider the stand of going solo if the BJP offered a “respectable proposal” for a tie-up. Thackeray, in his past few rallies, had lambasted the BJP over several issues, but a rally now, with a possibility of a tie-up on the cards, could send a wrong signal to the ally.

Sena leaders, however, said rescheduling of the rally should not be read into, as other engagements of Thackeray have forced them to change plans. “Many things have come up. Preparations for the Lok Sabha polls, etc… It will happen there [in Nagpur], too, but the date wasn’t sacrosanct,” said Anil Desai, Rajya Sabha MP.

Thackeray is expected to address a rally in north Maharashtra on February 15.

The Sena is engaged in a tussle with the BJP to get back its senior partner status in the alliance. Rajya Sabha MP and Sena leader Sanjay Raut had earlier said they would continue being the “big brother” in Maharashtra.

“Shiv Sena is the big brother [in the alliance with BJP and other smaller parties] and will continue to be so.” Sena functionaries have confirmed that Thackeray is unlikely to accept anything less than a 50-50 seat-sharing agreement.

Meanwhile, Thackeray continued to chalk out the party’s plan for the polls. He is currently holding meetings with zonal heads of the state to finalise list of candidates for seats where Sena won in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Sena leader Deepak Kesarkar said Thackeray reviewed constituencies in north Maharashtra and Konkan region.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, too, has started taking reviews of each of the 48 parliamentary constituencies in the state to oversee party preparedness for the polls and identify probable candidates. On Tuesday, the CM took an overview of five constituencies in Vidarbha and on Wednesday, he took a review of constituencies in north Maharashtra, with the local regional leadership. The meetings are also an indication that the BJP has started its election preparation without waiting for Sena to agree on an alliance.

First Published: Jan 31, 2019 01:19 IST

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