Zee Media Bureau
Mumbai: Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah will meet Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, announced the BJP on Thursday dismissing reports that the oldest allies in Maharashtra are upset with each other due to seat-sharing ahead of Assembly Elections in the state.
"Uddhav had yesterday invited Shah at his residence 'Matoshree'," Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council Vinod Tawde, told reporters here today.
"The invitation has been accepted by Shah and he will pay a courtesy visit to Thackeray at 9.30 pm today," he said.
His statement came amid speculation about the Sena-BJP relations in view of Shah's visit to Mumbai.
"But we were in constant coordination with Sena leaders on this matter," Tawde said.
Shah will also pay homage to Sena supremo late Bal Thackeray at his 'samadhi' in Shivaji Park.
Earlier in the day, Shah described the upcoming Assembly Elections in Maharashtra as the second leg of the party's "Congress free India movement”.
"The coming Assembly Elections will be the second leg of our 'Congress Mukt Bharat Abhiyan', and just like people supported it during Lok Sabha polls they would do the same now," Shah said addressing party workers at the airport where he was accorded a huge welcome upon his arrival from Delhi.
He described the Congress-led Maharashtra government as the "most corrupt and ineffective" since independence and expressed confidence that the BJP, with the help of its cadre and support of people of the state, would defeat it in the Assembly polls.
The BJP president, who is a 'Z plus' protectee, is on his first visit to Mumbai after the Lok Sabha polls.
He was welcomed at the airport by Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council Vinod Tawde, BJP Mumbai chief Ashish Shelar, party leader Pankaja Munde, among others.
Shah was accompanied by senior BJP leaders Rajiv Pratap Rudy and OP Mathur.
Shah said it was from Maharashtra that warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj established 'Swarajya'.
"We are confident that the 'Mahayuti' (grand alliance of Shiv Sena-BJP and other parties) will form the next government in the state," he said.
Shah attended the BJP core committee meeting at Tawde's residence in Vile Parle.
He is later due to perform a 'maha-aarti' of Lord Ganesha as part of the ongoing 11-day Ganeshotsav.
The Mumbai-born Shah will perform the 'maha-aarti' at a Gilder Tank ground in south Mumbai's Grant Road area with the accompaniment of priests from five prominent temples in the city.
They are Swami Narain temple, ISKCON, Babulnath, Phadke Ganpati Temple and Mahalaxmi, and the high attraction of the venue is a huge replica of the famous 'Char Dham' created by Bollywood's top notch art director Nitin Desai.
Shah will also visit an exhibition on the life of Prime Minister Narendra Modi organised by party legislator MP Lodha at the same venue where pictures, life-size cut-outs and statues have been displayed for the public.
Earlier reports had claimed that due to differences between BJP-Shiv Sena on the issue of seat-sharing, Shah would not meet Thackeray.
In the 2009 Assembly Elections, Shiv Sena had contested 169 seats while BJP had contested 119 seats and bagged 44 and 46 seats respectively in the 288-member house.
Some sections of the BJP were reportedly not pleased with the manner in which certain Shiv Sena leaders have unilaterally staked the party's claim for the post of chief minister if their 'Grand Alliance' comes to power.
(With Agency inputs)