States

Raj cancels Delhi plans, engages with Pawar in 2-hour discussion

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Putting an end to rumours of his visit to Delhi to invite Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his son Amit’s wedding, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has cancelled his trip.

According to an MNS leader, who was privy to the discussions, the visit was in the planning, but dates could not be matched, and Mr. Thackeray is left with no time to travel to Delhi as the wedding is scheduled for January 27.

As per the initial plan, Mr. Thackeray was to visit Delhi on Tuesday. “He was to meet all senior leaders from the Opposition, including Mr. Gandhi, to extend the invitation,” the leader said.

Both leaders, though have never met in person before, have been in touch through telephonic conversations. MNS sources claim Mr. Gandhi had begun talking to the MNS chief when his son Amit was rumoured to be diagnosed with cancer.

Earlier on Sunday, Mr. Thackeray met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar at his residence to give the wedding invitation. However, the two-hour-long meeting between the two leaders raised eyebrows in the political circles.

While the NCP and the Congress have sealed the alliance on 40 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, the MNS is eyeing three seats for the 2019 general elections. According to party insiders, Mumbai North-East which is presently held by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Kirit Somaiya; Kalyan by the Shiv Sena’s Shrikant Shinde, and Nashik held by Hemant Godse of the Sena, are on Mr. Thackeray’s target.

NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik rejected the talks of political discussion on Sunday. The Congress and the NCP had already discussed the possibility of bringing the MNS into the alliance. But the proposal was rejected following opposition from Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam who feared that joining hands with the MNS would make north Indians look away from the Congress in Mumbai and in north Indian states.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2019 3:50:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/states/raj-cancels-delhi-plans-engages-with-pawar-in-2-hour-discussion/article25927467.ece

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