After a morning of crossed wires and confusing signalling, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray travelled to Delhi to attend the dinner hosted by BJP chief Amit Shah on Tuesday for NDA allies ahead of the Lok Sabha results on May 23.
Sena leaders said there was no clarity about who would attend the dinner, leading to the confusion. “Shah called Uddhavji multiple times on Tuesday requesting that he attends dinner,” claimed a Sena leader, adding that it was decided in the afternoon that Uddhav and Aaditya, along with senior party leader Subhash Desai and party secretary Milind Narvekar would attend the dinner.
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The Sena leader further said Uddhav, who had gone abroad after the polls in Mumbai, returned to the city on Tuesday and attended party legislator Pratap Sarnaik’s son’s wedding in the afternoon.
With the exit polls predicting a return of a Narendra Modi-led NDA, Sena leaders appear hopeful of getting more ministerial berths in the Union government. Anant Geete was the only Union minister in the 2014-2019 Cabinet. The party was offered a minister of state portfolio but refused it.
“We are hopeful of getting more ministerial berths this time with renewed alliance and the need of the time,” said a leader.
On Tuesday, the Sena asserted that Modi will be re-elected as the Prime Minister again. In an editorial in party mouthpiece in Saamana, it said the BJP-led NDA has a clear lead in the bigger states like UP, Bihar, Maharashtra and Congress-led Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
“Shiv Sena BJP will record the historic victory in Maharashtra. We don’t want to get into the exit polls but we have seen the enthusiasm among the people that showed the clear trends in Maharashtra. There is no need of a political pundit to predict that Modi government will be re-elected again,” said the editorial.
It also praised Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka for their hard work during the polls. “They will be successful as a strong Opposition party and Congress will have its Opposition leader and it will be certainly the success of Rahul Gandhi,” the editorial said.