Mumbai, The Shiv Sena on Thursday indicated it had not changed its stance – of contesting all future elections solo – even after a marathon two-hour bridge-building meeting between its chief Uddhav Thackeray with ally BJP President Amit Shah on Wednesday.
Sena MP and spokesperson Sanjay Raut told mediapersons: “The decision to contest all elections in future was taken by the party’s National Executive… How can any outsider come and influence it?”
However, he said Thackeray will make the party’s stand clear at his public meeting scheduled later on Thursday in Palghar – the Lok Sabha seat won by the BJP last week, which saw relations between the two allies plummet to an all-time low.
To drive home the point further, the Sena has announced its candidates for the Maharashtra Legislative Council elections to Mumbai and Konkan Graduates Constituencies. The BJP has also declared its candidates for the June 25 polls.
In stark contrast, Congress state President Ashok Chavan adopted a conciliatory gesture by not putting up any candidates for the elections to four MLC seats, but declared unconditional support to candidates representing “secular forces”.
The Congress will back Nationalist Congress Party’s Najib Mulla for Konkan, Loktantrik Janata Dal (Sharad Yadav)’s Kapil Patil for Mumbai Teachers Constituency, Peasants and Workers Party’s Rajendra Korde for Mumbai Graduates Constituency and Teachers Democratic Front’s Sandeep Bedse for Nashik Teachers Constituency.
On its part, the BJP has displayed an air of confidence, with several leaders optimistic that the two oldest allies will join hands not only for the Lok Sabha but also the Maharashtra Assembly elections, both scheduled in 2019.
Shah called on Thackeray at his ‘Matoshri’ residence in Bandra East late on Wednesday and was closeted with him for nearly two hours, without Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis or state party chief Raosaheb Patil-Danve.
The BJP chief came to Mumbai as part of a new outreach initiative, ‘Sampark for Samarthan’, in which he also met former Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit and industrialist Ratan Tata, besides Thackeray, to apprise them about the achievements since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister.