In a bid to reach out to a bitter, yet long-standing BJP ally, Amit Shah will be meeting Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at his Mumbai residence. The meeting comes after a bitterly fought by-poll on the Palghar Lok Sabha seat last week which was won by the BJP.
Shiv Sena had made a litany of charges against its senior ally in a presser soon after the bitter defeat in Palghar polls.
“Amit Shah sought time to meet Uddhavji. Accordingly, an appointment of tomorrow evening has been given to him,” Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, who incidentally questioned the need for Shah to meet Thackeray after a gap of four years.
However, senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said Shah’s meet with Thackeray is a part of the party’s ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ (contact for support) nationwide campaign and that it has nothing to do with the recent Lok Sabha bypolls in Palghar and Bhandara-Gondiya seats in Maharashtra.
“Along with the Sena president, he will be meeting around 15 to 20 people from different sectors of society,” Mungantiwar said adding “This meet has nothing to do with any bypolls. It is an outreach effort for 2019 (elections)”.
On the other hand, Raut said the Sena showed it can go into the poll battle alone by contesting the recent Palghar Lok Sabha bypoll, despite the fact that it was defeated.
“We showed that we can fight alone when we contested the Palghar bypoll. We may have lost, however, the message has been sent across. We received lakhs of votes (in Palghar) where we had never contested an election,” Raut said.
Sena had often criticised the Central government and Maharashtra state government in its mouthpiece Saamna as well as at numerous public forums.
Asked if the Sena will continue with its stand of going solo in all the forthcoming elections, Raut said party chief Thackeray had taken a call on not forging an alliance after due considerations.
“This decision was taken keeping people’s sentiments in mind. I don’t think there will be any change in this stand,” the Rajya Sabha member said.
The BJP has launched the ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ exercise to mark the fourth anniversary of the Modi government as it prepares for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Around 4,000 BJP functionaries, including chief ministers, Union ministers and panchayat members, across the country will contact one lakh people who are recognised names in their fields to inform them about the government’s achievements.
(With inputs from PTI)