Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Friday exhorted party ministers and top leaders to aggressively campaign for the ensuing Municipal Corporation and Zilla Parishad polls in Maharashtra, notwithstanding the ongoing alliance talks with BJP. “Uddhav ji has given a ‘strict warning’ to all ministers to extensively participate in the local body polls. Sena ministers will go to every nook and corner of the state for campaigning. Uddhav ji himself will be watching the polls closely,” Environment minister Ramdas Kadam told reporters after attending a meeting of party ministers with Thackeray.
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Also present at the meeting were Subhash Desai, Deepak Sawant, Deepak Kesarkar, Vijay Shivtare, Arjun Khotkar, besides other Sena legislators. Party MP Anil Desai said BJP has shown an inclination for alliance with Sena and that the tie-up should not be limited to a place but for all civic bodies. “We have done good work together in Mumbai and there is transparency in that. Soon, official talks for alliance will start,” Desai said.
A senior Sena leader, who was present at the meeting, said the Sena chief expressed strong displeasure with those ministers who did not take part in the recently held local body polls. “Uddhav ji was clear. He asked all ministers to aggressively campaign, irrespective of an alliance with BJP. He said he will personally monitor the campaigns,” the leader said.
Even as Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, while addressing party office bearers at Thane on Thursday, had argued in favour of a pre-poll alliance with ally Sena, some anonymous BJP workers and supporters put up banners with contrary stand outside the meeting venue at Teen Hath Naka.
One of the posters read “Yuti Nakara…Thanyachya Vikasacha Marg Prashasth Kara… Amhi Thanekar” (Say no to alliance with Sena, pave the way for development of Thane. We Thanekars). It was put up right next to the banner of BJP MLA and party’s Thane unit in-charge, Sanjay Kelkar.
In a counter-reply, the Sena put posters on social media stating- ‘Nako Yuti’ (do not want alliance), ‘Hawe Swabal’ (want our own strength), ‘Punha Anu Bhagwe Wadal’ (saffron storm again).