Other States

Raj meets Fadnavis, sets tongues wagging


‘MNS to declare future plans on Jan. 23’

Fuelling speculation of what could be yet another strange political alliance in the State, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray on Tuesday met former chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Devendra Fadnavis.

The meeting held in Prabhadevi lasted for more than an hour, but neither of the two leaders was available for comment after it ended. However, sources said the meeting could be the beginning of the two parties coming together.

Driving force

The BJP’s long-term ally, the Shiv Sena, quit the partnership to form a government with the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). The MNS, which managed to win only one seat in the Assembly polls, neither has any power left in the ruling alliance, nor the Opposition. This seems to be compelling the two parties to join hands, despite the animosity between them in the last five years.

“Mr. Thackeray is set to address a public meeting on January 23, where he will announce the future course of action. There have been talks within the party fold to turn to the Hindutva ideology as the Sena has deserted it by joining hands with the Congress and the NCP,” an MNS leader said, on the condition of anonymity.

According to sources, the party is also likely to change its flag to add more saffron colour to it.

Strained past

The relations between the two parties were strained last year after Mr. Thackeray campaigned against the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, though his party did not contest the Lok Sabha polls. Mr. Thackeray was later served a notice by the Enforcement Directorate in the Kohinoor mill case, which further worsened the relations.

The MNS chief had met NCP chief Sharad Pawar and party leader Ajit Pawar prior to the polls, giving rise to speculation that he might reach a tacit understanding with the NCP.

For the BJP, the loss of the Sena as an ally in Mumbai and Pune creates difficulty in civic polls, and an alliance with the MNS would mean the party can break into the Sena’s Marathi vote bank.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 7:50:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/raj-meets-fadnavis-sets-tongues-wagging/article30507672.ece

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