Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, one of the key architects of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra, will meet Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi after the latter had extended an invitation to the former for a one-on-one meeting to “discuss various national issues as well as those related to Maharashtra.”
The meeting assumes significance as the BJP in Maharashtra has been repeatedly sending feelers to Shiv Sena for a possible reunion of the two saffron parties in Maharashtra. At the same time, at least two Sena leaders have openly spoken about “BJP being the natural ally of Shiv Sena.” In fact, one of them, Pratap Sarnaik, called for joining hands with BJP so that the ED raids and other problems being faced by Sena leaders would ease.
“Yes, I am meeting Rahul Gandhi today,” Raut told The Indian Express Tuesday afternoon. Sources close to Raut said he was specially invited by Gandhi as he was close to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and the only strong link the Congress has with Shiv Sena.
“We will discuss all national issues…Certainly, Maharashtra is also on our agenda,” he said.
Raut had met Gandhi last month too but it was during an all-party meeting. He had invited Gandhi to visit Maharashtra and hold a meeting with the chief minister. Raut said he would once again extend the invitation to the Congress leader.
“Raut is a known supporter of Congress. He has been praising both Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra through the editorials in party mouthpiece “Saamna” and therefore Congress has a lot of respect for him,” said a senior Congress leader.