Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, normally seen spearheading the BJPs attack on the Uddhav Thackeray government, today declared the Shiv Sena was “never” an “enemy”. Asked by reporters whether there is a possibility of the two former allies coming together, Mr Fadnavis said an “appropriate decision” will be taken in view of the situation.
“We (Sena and the BJP) were never enemies. They were our friends and people whom they fought against, they formed a government together with them and they left us,” Mr Fadnavis told reporters when he was asked about his meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the possibility of a rapprochement with Sena.
“There are no ifs and buts in politics. Decisions are taken as per prevailing situations,” Mr Fadnavis added.
The declaration of friendship comes amid action taken by central agencies against leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Both the Shiv Sena and the NCP say central agencies are being misused against opposition parties to destabilise the three-party alliance in Maharashtra. The reports of strain within the ruling alliance were also fed by belligerent remarks from leaders of ally Congress. The Congress later clarified they are with the Uddhav Thackeray-led alliance for the next five years.
There were, however, reports that the allies are trying to work through it.
Earlier this week, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar met Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. The same day several other leaders like cabinet minister Jeetendra Awhad, Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil and Aditya Thackeray also met him.
Last month, Mr Thackeray had a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Shiv Sena explained it as a personal meeting and protocol and said it values personal relations irrespective of political affiliations.
On Saturday, in an attempt to dispel speculation, Sena MP Sanjay Raut tweeted, “The more such rumours spread, the stronger the MVA alliance will become.”
Mr Raut was reacting to reports that he met BJP leader Ashish Shelar. “We may have political and ideological differences, but if we come face-to-face at public functions, we will cordially greet each other. I have had coffee with Ashish Shelar openly,” he added.