SHIV Sena’s three-time Shirur MP Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil on Wednesday denied speculations that he was approached by the BJP and NCP ahead of the 2019 elections.
“Neither BJP or NCP has approached me to contest elections on their ticket. There is no truth in the rumours. I am a Shiv Sainik and will contest from Shiv Sena only,” he said, adding that BJP leaders and workers were supporting him in his Shirur constituency.
Speculations have been rift for months that Adhalrao has been approached by some parties, especially BJP, which is desperate to snatch both Maval and Shirur seats.
The speculations had first started last year in September after Adhalrao and his party colleague Shrirang Barne, Maval MP, had met senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, who is known for his proximity to NCP chief Sharad Pawar and MNS chief Raj Thackeray.
Speculations are again doing rounds that Adhalrao has been in touch with BJP leadership.
Adhalrao is said to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a fact he acknowledges publicly.
When contacted, Adhalrao strongly denied that he was approached by BJP or he has any intention of quitting the Shiv Sena. “Neither BJP nor NCP or any other party has approached me. I am very much in Shiv Sena and will contest on the party ticket,” he said.
Asked again about CM’s appeal for supporting Prime Minister Modi, Adhalrao reiterated that the decision rested with Sena leadership.
“The appeal has been made to our party leadership which will take an appropriate decision,” he said.
Asked about his being in touch with BJP leaders like Nitin Gadkari, Adhalrao said,”It is true that I have met Gadkari on a number of occasions. But all this in connection with the development work in my constituency. Since he holds the highway portfolio, I met him and have succeeded in pushing the widening of the Pune-Nashik highway,” he said.
Asked about the likely possibility of a BJP and Shiv Sena pre-poll alliance for Lok Sabha polls, Adhalrao said he has no idea about it.
“But whether the alliance happens or not, I am fully prepared to to take the on rivals and win the constituency once again for the Shiv Sena,” he said.
Close associates of Adhalrao said both Shiv Sena and BJP are working closely in Shirur constituency. When asked about this, Adhalrao revealed that BJP workers and leaders were with him in at least five of the six assembly constituency falling in Shirur Lok Sabha constituency.
“Except for Bhosari assembly constituency, in all other constituencies, BJP worker and leaders attend my functions,” he said.
In Bhosari, the BJP had alerted party MLA Mahesh Landge to gear up for the possibility of his contesting the Shirur Lok Sabha seat in case there is no BJP-Shiv Sena pre-poll alliance.
Asked about CM’s appeal, BJP general secretary Sarang Kamtekar said there is no question of direct approach to Adhalrao or Barne by local leadership.
“All these decisions are taken by the central leadership of the party,” he said.