BJP chief Nitin Gadkari’s visit to Matoshree on Tuesday has provided fodder for the political gossip mills, especially as every effort was made to keep the trip to the Thackeray home a secret.
According to sources, Gadkari and Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray remained closeted in a meeting for over an hour as they discussed the current political scenario at the Centre and the state.
Gadkari had no official engagements in the city and, after the meeting with Thackeray, left for Nagpur late in the afternoon.
A senior BJP leader refused to comment on the meeting except for saying the meeting was a personal one.
“He (Gadkari) had not met Uddhav since the funeral of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and two earlier visits had been brief affairs,” the leader said.
Sources said the NDA’s stand on FDI was on the agenda of the meeting as the BJP did not want to lose the support of its key ally on the issue. They said matters would become difficult for the BJP if the Shiv Sena ended up supporting the UPA on FDI.
Despite being a part of the BJP-led NDA, the Shiv Sena extended its support to Congress nominees in the last two presidential elections.
The meeting came at a time when the state is witnessing a political upheaval in the wake of a number of scams. The situation has made the saffron allies take a formidable stand against the Congress-led Democratic Front government, said sources.
The Winter Session of the state legislature that begins in Nagpur from December 10 may turn out to be an acid test for the government led by Prithviraj Chavan.
The Shiv Sena has already moved a notice of no confidence against the Democratic Front government. In the notice the Shiv Sena listed 10 issues, including the allegations of a massive scam in the state irrigation sector and the subsequent white paper. The development surprised the BJP as no discussions were held with it at the alliance level prior to the issuing of the notice.
The BJP in a separate press meet has demanded filing of cases against former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and his trusted lieutenant, Water Resources Minister Sunil Tatkare.
With these independent moves on the part of the allies, a picture of lack of understanding between them has emerged and the issue might have featured during Gadkari and Thackeray’s meeting, said sources.
“The saffron alliance needs to maintain a healthy atmosphere as both parties want to defeat the Congress and NCP in the next general election by highlighting the recent scams,” a leader from the alliance, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.