BJP president Amit Shah will meet Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray during his three-day visit to Mumbai starting on Friday. The state BJP president, Raosaheb Danve, during a media interaction on Thursday, said: “Shah will meet Thackeray. It was in response to an invitation extended by Uddhavji during his earlier visit to Delhi to attend the NDA meeting.”
The meeting assumes significance as the Shiv Sena had intensified its role as an opposition role by taking to the streets during the farmers’ strike that was restricted to three districts of Ahmednagar, Nashik and parts of Pune. In the past three years of the Narendra Modi-led government, the Shiv Sena had been critical about both Modi and Shah through its editorials in its newspaper Saamna.
In Maharashtra, the party had been playing a double role of an alliance partner as well as opposition on all important policy issues of the government. Although the farmers’ strike has been called off, Thackeray has been trying to steer the pitch to keep the BJP-led government on the back foot. He has been demanding a total loan waiver in the state.
A BJP leader, however, underplayed the meeting saying: “During the Mumbai tour between June 16 and June 18, Shah will meet a cross-section of people, including all alliance partners supporting the NDA. The Shiv Sena is an alliance partner, both at the Centre and the state..” He added: “Shortly after his arrival in Mumbai, Shah will pay tribute to Chhatrapati Shivaji, Dr B R Ambedkar at Chaiytabhoomi, and Dr Veer Savarkar and late Balasaheb Thackeray Memorial at Shivaji Park.
“ The first day will mark the BJP leader’s formal interaction with the state leaders, ministers and office-bearers at Garware Club. A separate meeting with the leading Marathi film fraternity and Bollywood is also high on the agenda.