Uddhav Thackeray to attend Opposition meeting called by Sonia GandhiUpdated: May 21, 2020 00:20 IST
Maharashtra chief minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will attend a video conference of opposition parties that has been called by Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on May 22. This is the first time Thackeray will formally attend a meeting of opposition parties after it parted ways with former ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) last year.
The Congress has called the meeting on Friday afternoon, during which political parties are expecting to discuss the current situation in the country, including the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, the migrant issue, and the government’s economic package.
A senior Shiv Sena leader confirmed that Thackeray and party MP Sanjay Raut will participate in the meeting. “Uddhav Thackeray will be attending the meeting as most issues are surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic and measures. We are in the opposition and not a part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). We are running a coalition government with the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the state. So it is no surprise that he [Thackeray] is attending the meeting,” said the Sena leader.
Sena has not entered the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
In January, the Thackeray-led party had skipped all meetings called by Sonia Gandhi to discuss the political situation in the wake of violence at Jawaharlal Nehru University and protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Days later Thackeray’s son Aaditya, who is now a cabinet minister in the Maharashtra government, met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi.
Thackeray’s decision also assumes significance in the context of political developments in Maharashtra. The state unit of BJP has started mounting pressure on the Thackeray government over its handling of the Covid-19 crisis in Maharashtra, which has the highest number of cases in the country. The Sena-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (in alliance with NCP and Congress) has claimed good coordination between the Centre and the state in tackling the outbreak, but many within the government have blamed the Centre for its poor handling of the migrant issue.