Raj Thackeray meets Amit Shah amid poll tie-up buzz - JK REVOLUTION

Raj Thackeray meets Amit Shah amid poll tie-up buzz

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New Delhi: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Raj Thackeray met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday in an indication that the BJP is looking to ally with him for the Lok Sabha polls to boost its alliance in the western state.

Senior MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar said in Mumbai that the talks on Lok Sabha polls between the two leaders were “positive”, and details will be shared in a day or two.

The meeting drew sharp reactions from the Maha Vikas Aghadi camp, with the Congress accusing the BJP of “betraying” north Indians.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray accused the BJP of trying to “steal a Thackeray” to win elections, underlining that the brand Thackeray is indispensable in the state.

Senior NCP leader and state minister Chhagan Bhujbal, who belongs to the Ajit Pawar camp, said if MNS joins the BJP-led ‘Mahayuti’, it will increase the strength of the ruling alliance.

Raj Thackeray, who arrived in Delhi on Monday, was joined by BJP national general secretary Vinod Tawde when he met Shah earlier in the day.

If the alliance is sealed, the MNS may be given one seat to contest from Mumbai where his cousin Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction enjoys considerable influence.

Raj Thackeray had parted ways with Shiv Sena, when it was undivided and led by his cousin, and founded MNS in 2006.

However, the MNS could not make much impact even though Raj is seen as a powerful orator and enjoys a certain following.

His controversial comments against north Indians in the past had drawn sharp criticism from leaders of various political parties, including the BJP.

Riding high on the Marathi manoos plank, the MNS contested the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. Though it drew a blank, the party damaged the prospects of many Shiv Sena and BJP candidates in some constituencies, especially in Mumbai.

In the assembly elections held in the same year, the MNS put up an impressive performance and won 13 seats. However, the party subsequently lost its appeal among voters and its stock dwindled, pushing it to the margins of state politics.

Barring 2009, the MNS has not been able to come anywhere close to the 13 seats it had won. In the 2019 elections, the party won just one seat in the 288-member House.

Attacking the BJP over the attempt to ally with his estranged cousin, Uddhav Thackeray alleged that his former ally was trying to “steal” a “Thackeray” to win elections.

“BJP knows very well that they don’t get votes in the name of PM Narendra Modi in Maharashtra. People vote here in the name of (Bal) Thackeray. This realization prompted the BJP to try to steal leaders from outside (BJP fold),” he said at a rally in Nanded.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut alleged the BJP and the MNS are trying to ally as they are afraid of Maha Vikas Aghadi’s success.

The NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) said Raj Thackeray’s meeting with Amit Shah has not surprised them as there were indications of the MNS chief’s closeness to the BJP.

NCP (SP) spokesperson Clyde Crasto claimed the MNS leader has been under the scanner of Central agencies and has been trying to save his party.

The fortunes of Thackeray’s MNS have been dwindling and the meeting could salvage him and protect his party, he claimed.

The Congress said by trying to ally with MNS, the BJP has not only betrayed north Indians but has also rubbed salt in their wounds, referring to the protests held by the Raj Thackeray-led party in the past.

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