Mumbai: BJP chief Amit Shah met Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray at his Mumbai residence 'Matoshree' on Wednesday, which is seen with much significance since the two allies have been bickering for quite some time. Shah was accompanied by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The two allies contested the May 28 bypolls to Palghar Lok Sabha constituency of Maharashtra separately and engaged in a bitter campaign against each other. After facing defeat in the bypolls at the hands of the BJP, the Shiv Sena labelled the ally party as its "biggest political enemy".
The two parties were allies for over two-and-half decades before they severed ties ahead of the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly polls, only to join hands later to form the government under the leadership of Fadnavis in the state.
Mumbai: BJP President Amit Shah reaches Matoshree, residence of Shiv Sena chief Uddav Thackeray. pic.twitter.com/UTaU2QQ5DD
— ANI (@ANI) June 6, 2018
Shah will also meet Shiromani Akali Dal supremo Parkash Singh Badal in Chandigarh on Thursday. On June 3, 2018, he had met LJP chief and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who raised the issue of special status for Bihar. The series of meetings are being seen as an attempt by the BJP to reach out to allies who have either been criticising or expressing their dissent with the party and also to strengthen the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in 2019.
The BJP has also launched the 'sampark for samarthan' exercise to mark the fourth anniversary of the Modi government as it prepares for the 2019 General Elections. About 4,000 BJP functionaries, including CMs, Union ministers as well as panchayat members, across the country will contact one lakh people who are recognised names in their fields to inform them about the government's achievements.
Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena on Wednesday questioned the BJP's outreach programme after suffering defeats in bypolls and asserted it will fight all upcoming elections solo. "The PM is touring the world and the BJP chief is going around the country as part of their sampark programme. Shah will be meeting NDA allies. However, what exactly will he do? Why is he meeting at this juncture when the BJP has suffered defeats in bypolls," the Sena asked in an editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamana. The focus on the 2019 polls may be the reason for Shah's outreach, but the BJP has lost connect with the people," it said.
"Winds of change of governance are blowing in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Change of governance is inevitable in Maharashtra as well. Amit Shah intends to win 350 seats in the Lok Sabha on the BJP's own strength. He says Ram Mandir will be built then. His stubbornness needs to be saluted," the Sena added. The party added that inflation had peaked due to the high prices of petrol and diesel and farmers were protesting as their connect with the government was lost.
It noted that the BJP had broken contact with Naidu in Andhra Pradesh and questioned if building an equation with him once again will be part of Shah's outreach programme. If Naidu does not agree, YS Jaganmohan Reddy (of the YSR Congress) is available, the Sena said sarcastically.
(With PTI inputs)