Amit Shah is BJP's white flag to Uddhav Thackeray
Meeting between BJP president and Sena chief in Kalanagar today is former's last ditch effort to woo miffed alliance partner in state
Amit Shah's visit should be seen as BJP's first step in persuading Uddhav's Sena to continue its partnership
The Shiv Sena is all set to get the 'respect' it has been demanding from the BJP when Amit Shah, the ruling party's national president, calls on Uddhav Thackeray at his Kalanagar residence on Wednesday evening.
Shah's visit, a part of the party's 'Sampark for Samarthan' (communication for support) programme that has been taken up across the nation by BJP leaders and ministers, is expected to break the ice between the alliance partners, who have taken their fight to the electoral field. Earlier, Shah had met some well-known individuals from various sectors around the country. Thackeray will be the first politician, a chief of the alliance partner, whom Shah will be meeting as part of the programme that was launched last week. On Thursday, Shah will visit yet another sulking NDA ally, the Akali Dal chief Prakash Singh Badal, in Chandigarh.
The Palghar Lok Sabha by-poll and other contests held in various parts of the country have put BJP in a tight spot. While some NDA allies have turned foes, the Sena, too, is giving the BJP a run for its money despite being in the state and union governments. The Sena has vowed to end the alliance for the Lok Sabha polls and has taken a step forward by fielding candidates against the BJP in the Lok Sabha by-election, and legislative council polls in Maharashtra. It has joined hands with the Opposition in protests against the bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
Shah's visit should be seen as the first step in persuading the Sena to continue its partnership in future. The Opposition is ganging up against the BJP, Narendra Modi and Shah, by drawing parallels between their collective efforts with that of the emergency era when all anti-Indira Gandhi forces had put their ideological differences aside to end the Congress regime.
While Sena leader Sanjay Raut said Shah had sought Thackeray's time and claimed his party had no agenda for the meeting between the two leaders, BJP leaders were hopeful that the summit should yield something positive for the ideological twins who cannot afford to transfer power to the Congress-led parties because of their internal tussle. It is said that the Sena could be quitting the BJP government at the right time, and go to the polls as an anti-BJP force.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had told party workers on Monday that the BJP was all for the Sena, but they should be ready to fight without the partner if the alliance doesn't fall in place.
Sena veteran and state transport minister Diwakar Raote said the BJP seemed to have realised the mistakes committed in the last four years. "Sena was treated very badly since it joined the BJP government. Maybe they are out to salvage something for themselves," he said.
Meeting other bigwigs
Before meeting Uddhav Thackeray, Amit Shah, as part of the BJP's agenda of reaching out to famous and influential individuals, will be making pit-stops at actor Madhuri Dixit's Juhu residence, singer Lata Mangeshkar's Pedder Road home and industrialist Ratan Tata's Colaba bungalow.
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