Poll season: Modi-Thackeray bhai bhai

Updated: Sep 08, 2019, 07:39 IST | Dharmendra Jore

In Mumbai for Metro inauguration, Narendra Modi seals BJP-Sena alliance for state polls; lauds Fadnavis's work

Poll season: Modi-Thackeray bhai bhai
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, PM Narendra Modi and CM Devendra Fadnavis at the inauguration of Bandongri Metro station on the Andheri East to Dahisar East Metro 7 corridor

With less than a month to go for the state Assembly elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uddhav Thackeray gave a strong indication that a pre-poll alliance between the Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena would be sealed.

Once a bitter Modi critic, the Sena president praised the PM for, and congratulated him on the abrogation of Article 370. He also urged Modi to build the Ram Mandir at the earliest and implement a uniform civil code for the entire country. The PM returned the compliment, calling Thackeray his younger brother.

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Thackeray and Modi were speaking at a function that marked inauguration of a metro station and laying foundation of new metro lines in Mumbai's Bandra Kurla Complex on Saturday. This is a departure from some of the earlier government-hosted events, from which Thackeray had been kept out. This time around the BJP seemed to have taken utmost care to not upset the major ally while they are talking seat-sharing for the Assembly polls.

Also seen at the event was Anant Ambani son of Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani. PICS/Pradeep Dhivar
Also seen at the event was Anant Ambani son of Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani. PICS/Pradeep Dhivar

Thackeray announced that the alliance government would return to power in the state. "We don't want to come back to power because we're power hungry, but rather because we want to work for the progress [of the state]," Thackeray said. He also said he considered the Republican Party of India chief Ramdas Athawale an important partner, a comment that is being seen as important in the light of Sena's differences over sharing seats with the RPI and other smaller parties.

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For his part Modi, did not make any direct comment on the alliance. He set the tone for the election campaign making references to the "unprecedented and historic" decisions his government has taken in the 100 days of the second term. "Surajya (good governance) is our new mantra," Modi said. "CM Devendra Fadnavis has made serious efforts to improve Mumbai's infrastructure and I'm happy that the effects of his initiatives are visible now," he added.

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