Former CM’s visit to Raj Thackeray’s new house fuels alliance rumours | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Former CM’s visit to Raj Thackeray’s new house fuels alliance rumours

Nov 24, 2021 07:53 PM IST

Brushing aside alliance rumours, both MNS and BJP said that there was nothing political about the former CM’s visit

Mumbai Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray’s new house ‘Shivtirth’ at Dadar on Wednesday, fueling rumours of an alliance between BJP and MNS ahead of the crucial Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls.

Parties claim the former CM’s visit to Raj Thackeray’s house was personal in nature (HT File)
Parties claim the former CM’s visit to Raj Thackeray’s house was personal in nature (HT File)

Fadnavis was accompanied by his wife Amruta during the one-and-a-half-hour visit. The MNS described this visit as personal. “Rajsaheb had called them to his new home for lunch. There was nothing political about the visit,” said MNS spokesperson Sandeep Deshpande.

BJP legislator Ram Kadam, who was earlier in the MNS, also said that the visit had nothing to do with politics. “It was a courtesy call as Thackeray moved to his new house and there was nothing beyond that,” he stated.

Earlier this month, BJP leader Asish Shelar paid Thackeray a visit. BJP Maharashtra chief Chandrakant Patil had also visited Thackeray in August.

After a series of defeats in successive elections, Raj Thackeray in January 2020 shifted towards the Hindu hardline agenda leaving his “justice for sons of the soil” programme.

He unveiled a new saffron flag with a rajmudra (seal) of Maratha King Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, with the party’s name below it. During Dussehra, the MNS put ‘Proud to be Hindu’ banners in many places across the city.

Last month, two seers from Uttar Pradesh, who go by the name of Guru Ma Kanchan Giriji and Jagatguru Suryacharaji, had met Raj Thackeray and requested him for an alliance with BJP and even offered their services to mediate between the two parties.

Political experts said it was very clear that the meeting was aimed at the upcoming BMC polls. Political expert Hemant Desai said, “Both the parties will definitely have a tie-up. It may be a direct or an indirect alliance as both parties need each other to fight the Shiv Sena-led alliance.”

He added that the BJP is still not sure of bagging power in BMC on its own. “Last time, it lost power by a whisker as it secured 82 compared to two more by the Sena at 84. However, this time, the Sena is ruling the state and will not spare any resources to win back the BMC it has ruled for the last several decades,” he added.

He also said that the MNS is at its weakest phase as it has just one legislator in both state assembly and the BMC and needs someone who can fund its campaign. “The BJP fits the bill perfectly,” he added.

Thackeray had become a bitter critic of the BJP prior to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and had held several rallies in the state criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government. He had also been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with transactions related to the purchase of Kohinoor Mills land at Dadar in central Mumbai. However, in recent times, he has refrained from criticising Modi and has turned his ire on cousin and Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.

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