Did Shah, Thackeray meeting fail as Shiv Sena remains adamant to fight elections alone?
Mumbai, June 7: On Wednesday evening, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah accompanied by Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at his Mumbai residence.
The BJP said the meeting was in connection with its Sampark for Samarthan (contact for support) campaign being led by Shah in the run up to next year's Lok Sabha polls in 2019.
It was a "hush-hush" affair, although a huge media contingent made a beeline outside Matoshree, the residence of Thackeray, where the meeting was held for almost two hours, to know about the outcome of the talks.
Very little is known as what transpired in the meeting, although some reports say the Shiv Sena, which of late has been regularly attacking the BJP, has agreed to continue its ties with the saffron party. The BJP and the Shiv Sena run a coalition government in Maharashtra where the latter has been almost relegated to the background with no say in important government decisions.
On Thursday morning, the Shiv Sena issued a statement where it reiterated its earlier stand of going "solo" in all the upcoming polls it fights, indicating that the meeting between Shah and Thackeray yielded no positive outcome as expected by the BJP.
"We know what the agenda of Amit Shah ji is but the Shiv Sena has passed a resolution that we will contest all the upcoming elections on our own. There will be no change in that resolution," Sanjay Raut of the Shiv Sena was quoted as saying by ANI on the meeting between Shah and Thackeray.
In fact, hours before the Shah-Thackeray meeting, Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana on Wednesday mocked the BJP president. The newspaper, which is run by senior Shiv Sena leader Raut, called Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi wilful defaulters in alliance management.
Saamana questioned what Shah was hoping to achieve in his series of meetings with allies in the National Democratic Alliance, given that the meetings have been arranged after the party suffered multiple defeats in recent by-polls.
A few days ago, the Shiv Sena called the BJP its "biggest political enemy". The comment came just a few days after the Shiv Sena lost the by-poll against the BJP in the Palghar Lok Sabha constituency in Maharashtra.
In fact, this was for the first time when the Shiv Sena had fielded a candidate against the BJP. The decision to contest the by-poll against its "partner" was an attempt by the Shiv Sena to directly confront the BJP. The Shiv Sena was hoping to win the by-poll to regain its lost glory in the coalition government. Unfortunately, it did not happen and the BJP once again succeeded in taming its alliance partner.