With BJP MLA Laxman Jagtap “unwilling” to join the campaign for Shiv Sena MP and the alliance candidate from Maval parliamentary seat Shrirang Barne, party chief Uddhav Thackeray may step in to break the stalemate, Sena leaders said.
On Saturday, after Thackeray deputed his close aide Sanjay Raut to iron out differences, the Sena MP from Pimpri-Chinchwad held separate meetings with Barne and Jagtap at a hotel in Wakad. However, sources told The Indian Express, that the differences apparently remained unresolved with the Jagtap camp “remaining defiant”.
Barne confirmed that a meeting was held between Raut and Jagtap. “I also met Raut. But since I was in a hurry to go for campaigning, I left quickly. I have no knowledge as to what transpired at that meeting (with Jagtap). Kindly ask (Sanjay) Raut,” he said. Claiming that he was ready to bury the hatchet and start afresh, Barne said, “Now, it is up to them (the Jagtap camp) to take the call.”
While Jagtap remained unavailable for comment, BJP general secretary and Jagtap’s close associate Sarang Kamtekar said certain issues were taken up before Raut and Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe at the meeting by the BJP MLA. “I can’t say whether the issues have been resolved or not. But in a day or two, we will join the campaigning,” Kamtekar said.
Shiv Sena senses trouble
Left with no option, but to depute senior leaders to resolve the issues with “disgruntled” BJP leaders in Maval parliamentary seat, trouble seems to be far from over for the Shiv Sena. According to sources, the BJP leaders here are not ready to campaign for the Sena candidate, and even if they do, it is believed that they may not do so whole-heartedly. Interestingly, top leaders of the BJP, including Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, are yet to issue any directives to local BJP leaders, over the politicking between the two alliance parties.
Another Jagtap aide, meanwhile, told The Indian Express that during the meeting the MLA had “complained” against Barne for criticising the BJP-ruled Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, several of its decisions, besides Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. “There were other issues as well.”
The Jagtap camp claimed that all eyes were on Maval seat after Parth Pawar (NCP) jumped into the fray from the seat.
“Now…it is up to the Sena to see how both the parties should manage the campaign. So far, we haven’t heard anything on this count,” a member of the Jagtap camp said.
After the meeting Gorhe said, “I can’t reveal all the things that transpired at the meeting. All I can say is that the meeting was held in a positive atmosphere.”
While refusing to confirm if the BJP leaders would join the campaign from the next week, she said, “I can’t say anything on this front. It is up to Jagtap to decide. But, as I said, a dialogue has at least started between the two parties.”
Gorhe said Raut had reportedly directed Barne to hold a meeting for conciliation.
“Barne did hold a press conference in the evening and spoke about the need for both the parties to campaign together,” she said.
A senior Sena leader, without wishing to be named, said Thackeray will intervene if the BJP leaders remain defiant in Maval. “Uddhav Thackeray is likely to hold a meeting with the leaders of BJP and Shiv Sena,” the leader said.
All is not well in Cong-NCP camp
Even as the BJP-Sena have locked horns in Maval, the opposition alliance too is facing problems with the Congress in Pimpri-Chinchwad yet to join the campaigning for NCP’s Parth Pawar in a full-fledged manner.
Sachin Sathe, president of Congress’s Pimpri-Chinchwad unit, said the NCP has not treated his party with respect all these years and therefore they were seeking an assurance from
the NCP in the matter.
Sathe’s remarks come days after NCP leader Ajit Pawar held a meeting of both the parties at Auto Cluster on Friday.
“We will help you in Lok Sabha elections, you should help us in the Assembly elections,” Sathe told Pawar.
Sathe also reminded Pawar that had both the parties contested the civic body elections together, the picture would have been different.
Pawar, sources said, on his part, has promised the Congress leaders that both the parties will work together in future.