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BJP chief Amit Shah to call on Uddhav Thackeray tomorrow

PTI | Mumbai |

BJP chief Amit Shah will meet Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray at the latter’s residence here tomorrow, a meeting being viewed as significant as it comes days after the two bickering allies contested the Palghar bypolls separately

The move is being seen as an attempt by the BJP to reach out the sulking ally which has been openly criticising senior BJP leaders.

“Amit Shah sought time to meet Uddhavji. Accordingly, an appointment of tomorrow evening has been given to him,” Sena MP Sanjay Raut told PTI.

He questioned the need for Shah to meet Thackeray after a gap of four years.

However, senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said Shah’s meet with Thackeray is a part of the party’s ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ (contact for support) nationwide campaign and that it has nothing to do with the recent Lok Sabha bypolls in Palghar and Bhandara-Gondiya seats in Maharashtra.

Raut said the Sena showed it can go into the poll battle alone by contesting the recent Palghar Lok Sabha bypoll, despite the fact that it was defeated.

“We showed that we can fight alone when we contested the Palghar bypoll. We may have lost, however, the message has been sent across. We received lakhs of votes (in Palghar) where we had never contested an election,” Raut pointed out while talking to reporters here.

In the May 28 Lok Sabha bypoll, the Sena candidate, Shrinivas Wanaga, secured 2,43,210 votes but lost to BJP’s Rajendra Gavit by a margin of 29,572 votes.

Raut said the NDA allies were one after the other deserting the BJP.

There was angst against the BJP, thus the party might have started a reconciliatory measure, he said.

Asked if the Sena will continue with its stand of going solo in all the forthcoming elections, Raut said party chief Thackeray had taken a call on not forging an alliance after due considerations.

“This decision was taken keeping people’s sentiments in mind. I don’t think there will be any change in this stand,” the Rajya Sabha member said.

Mungantiwar said Shah was going to meet Thackeray and other people as a part of the BJP’s nationwide outreach programme.

“Amit Shahji is touring the entire country as part of the BJP’s ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ programme. His meet with Uddhavji also is a part of this programme. Along with the Sena president, he will be meeting around 15 to 20 people from different sectors of society,” Mungantiwar said.

“This meet has nothing to do with any bypolls. It is an outreach effort for 2019 (elections),” he added.

The BJP has launched the ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ exercise to mark the fourth anniversary of the Modi government as it prepares for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Around 4,000 BJP functionaries, including chief ministers, Union ministers and panchayat members, across the country will contact one lakh people who are recognised names in their fields to inform them about the government’s achievements.