Gujarat Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Narendra Modi called upon his ally, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, at the latter’s residence in suburban Bandra for the first time since his elevation as the Chief of BJP’s election campaign committee.
The meeting took place against the backdrop of the Sena’s sharp rebuke to Mr. Modi in an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece Saamana, wherein the Gujarat Chief Minister was castigated for ‘tom-toming’ his achievement in safely pulling-out 15000 Gujaratis out of flood-stricken Uttarakhand.
Mr. Modi’s “Rambo act” was slammed by the Sena which censured the Gujarat Chief Minister’s attitude as ‘parochial’ and detrimental to his own interests at a time when Mr. Modi’s name was being bandied about as the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) Prime Ministerial candidate.
In a brief meeting which lasted for 20 minutes, Mr. Modi, accompanied by State BJP president Devendra Fadnavis, the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Vinod Tawde and Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar, met Mr. Thackeray at his residence ‘Matoshree’ in suburban Bandra.
The Sena, which is not unilaterally in favour of Mr. Modi being projected as the NDA’s Prime Ministerial candidate, had struck a note of discord with its criticism, triggering speculations on the health of the BJP-led NDA dispensation, which is down to only three principal parties following the Janata Dal (United)’s exit.
However, at a hurriedly convened press interaction, Mr. Thackeray had downplayed the attack against Mr. Modi, clarifying that the criticism in the editorial was not directed against the BJP leader, but against his propaganda work.
“The opposition is not against Mr. Modi, but the shoddy way in which his work is being publicised by his propaganda machinery. Please do not try to read any political meaning in the editorial,” Mr. Thackeray had said, remarking that the Gujarat Chief Minister had “only done good work” so far.