MUMBAI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s in Delhi two days ago set the political circle abuzz of two old allies patching up after falling out in November, 2019.
Two days after the meeting, fierce critic of BJP and Modi, Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut had a word of praise for the prime minister. Raut is close to Thackeray . “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the top leader of the country and his party. BJP has been in power for the last seven years because of Narendra Modi,” Raut said on Thursday. He was quick to add, though, that not much should be read much in the meeting of Modi and Thackeray.
He said Thackeray was in Delhi with Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Congress minister Ashok Chavan to resolve Maratha reservation and other issues. “We are politically not together with BJP but the personal equation between two leaders is intact. Politics and personal relations are different things,” he said. Shiv Sena ended its 30-year alliance with BJP in 2019 following disputes over sharing important positions in the ministry and equal numbers of ministers.
Sena claimed that BJP agreed to a 50:50 formula and later refused to honour that. Breaking away from the NDA, Thackeray criticised Devendra Fadnavis and Amit Shah for not keeping their word. But he did not say anything against Modi. With speculations of two old allies coming together doing the rounds, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on his party’s 22-year anniversary reminded Thackeray that his late father Balasaheb Thackeray had supported Indira Gandhi against Janta Party to keep his promise.
Pawar said NCP and Shiv Sena will not only survive five years in government, but they will also contest Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections together. “There are a lot of speculations and rumours about the Thackeray government lasting five years. However, we are not only confident about the survival of Maha Vikas Aghadi under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray, but the NCP and Shiv Sena will also contest Lok Sabha and state elections together. This government is doing great work for the people,” he said.
Pawar said there is no need to pay attention to speculations after a separate one-on-one meeting between Modi and Thackeray. “I have been observing Sena for the last several years. Once Balasaheb had given his word to Indira Gandhi on not contesting elections and extending support to Congress. Babasaheb Thackeray did not change his word despite a lot of pressure and political stakes. Shiv Sena means trust,” said Pawar.
No threat to MVA, assures Pawar
Sharad Pawar said there is nothing to worry about the government in Maharashtra. “People are happy with Maha Vikas Aghadi and its performance. No one talks about breaking the alliance,” said the NCP chief.