A day after senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi made startling claims that the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) were on the verge of forging a pre-poll alliance before the 2009 state Assembly polls, both parties tried to douse the political fire.
Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai Saturday refuted Joshi’s claim.
At an Idea Exchange event convened by Marathi daily Loksatta, Joshi had claimed that Pawar wanted the alliance and that Thackeray had even approved it.
Desai, however, claimed that Thackeray had never approved the move. “What Joshi has referred to is an old topic. But Thackeray has never even thought on those lines,” Desai said, while dodging a query on whether a Sena-NCP alliance was possible in future. “How can I talk about future? Only Joshi can predict that,” he sarcastically remarked.
“In the 2009 state Assembly polls, Pawar had expressed willingness for an alliance with Shiv Sena. I was asked by Uddhavji to hold talks with Pawar and I did that, “ Joshi has said. “Pawar later backed out. I don’t know why,” he added.
Joshi’s remark stirred a political row, raising doubts about Pawar’s loyalty towards the Congress.
The NCP too hit out at Joshi. Party spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “Joshi does not have a place in the Shiv Sena. He was also denied berth in the Rajya Sabha, besides being refused a ticket for the Lok Sabha polls. He is now trying to reclaim lost ground by making baseless allegations.”
Joshi’s revelations follow claims by Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde that Pawar wanted to join the NDA.