Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday received BJP national president Amit Shah and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at Matoshree, his residence in Bandra, and held a close-door meeting that lasted for nearly 75 minutes. Sources told The Indian Express that the BJP sought Sena’s support for its candidate ahead of the upcoming presidential elections. The meeting was said to be cordial, and issues such as the farmer loan waivers and the strain in the Sena-BJP relations were discussed, sources added. BJP’s state unit chief Raosaheb Danve was a notable absentee at the meeting.
The meeting comes a day after the BJP chief, who is here on a three-day visit to strengthen the party organisation in the state, said his party would consult its allies before finalising the NDA’s presidential candidate.
Shiv Sena, which has often been critical of the BJP and the Modi government, recently suggested the name of M S Swaminathan, the father of India’s Green Revolution, as its presidential choice. The Shiv Sena had earlier said it may choose an “independent” path in the election to the highest constitutional office. It had backed Congress nominees –Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee — in the last two presidential elections. Asked about Fadnavis’ remark that the BJP was prepared for snap Assembly election, in an apparent reference to continued strain in ties with the Shiv Sena, Shah earlier said, “What he meant was that if mid-term polls are forced on us, we are ready to fight.”
On the recent farm loan waiver announced by the Maharashtra government, Shah had said through it the state was offering relief to the farmers. “The burden of loan waiver will be on the government and not banks,” he had said.