The ongoing feud between Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari once again became public with the latter’s absence from the dais and the posters installed at BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s rally at BKC on Monday.
Besides Nitin Gadkari, most of the senior leaders were seen sharing the dais during Modi’s rally in the city on Monday. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Sources in the BJP claimed that since the Sena took the responsibility of organising the event, Gadkari’s picture was missing from posters and banners installed at the rally. The event was attended by all the senior leaders of Mahayuti including Uddhav Thackeray, Gopinath Munde, Ramdas Athawale, Raju Shetty, and Devendra Fadnavis, among others, and had their pictures displayed, except Gadkari’s, on the giant screens installed at the venue.
“Whenever Sena takes the responsibility of managing a rally, they miss out on one or the other important BJP leader. Gadkari’s picture missing from the posters is a big thing. He is not only our former party president, but one of the biggest leaders in the state,” a senior BJP leader said.
Source in the BJP claimed it was the party’s idea to keep Gadkari away from Monday’s event, as the Sena chief was supposed to be there. “Elections in Nagpur concluded on April 17 and he could have easily attended the rally. But he was busy in western Maharashtra. This was done to avoid a possible face-off between Thackeray and Gadkari,” said a party leader.
Meanwhile, the Sena issued a statement yesterday stating that comments made by senior party leader Ramdas Kadam were personal. It read: “The statement made by Ramdas Kadam do not echo the sentiments of Balasaheb, Uddhav and the Shiv Sena party. It is his personal view.
The party’s stand on Hindutva is clear, and voiced by Uddhav time and again.” Addressing the audience at the BKC rally, Kadam had said that when Modi comes to power, no one would dare to do anything like the Azad Maidan incident where women constables were molested.
Thackeray v/s Gadkari
Shiv Sena had vehemently opposed Gadkari’s meeting with MNS chief Raj Thackeray, during which the BJP leader asked MNS chief to refrain from fielding candidates against the NDA’s. Modi and Munde had to step in to diffuse the tension between Uddhav and Gadkari.