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'Take it Easy': Amit Shah's Advice to BJP Leaders Over Bickering Ally Shiv Sena

Shah’s instructions to party cadre to refrain from publicly sparring with the Sena came on a day when the upset ally boycotted the Prime Minister’s functions as the BJP did not extend an invite to Uddhav Thackeray for the events.

Vinaya Deshpande | CNN-News18

Updated:December 19, 2018, 12:32 PM IST
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'Take it Easy': Amit Shah's Advice to BJP Leaders Over Bickering Ally Shiv Sena
BJP President Amit Shah.(Image: Twitter/BJP)
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Mumbai: BJP chief Amit Shah is learnt to have told top party leaders to avoid confrontation with its bickering ally Shiv Sena as the party prepares its roadmap for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

In a closed-door meeting late on Tuesday, Shah spoke to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union minister Piyush Goyal. Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar was also present for the initial one hour of the meeting, which began around 10.30 pm and lasted over 2.5 hours in Maharashtra’s State Guest House Sahyadri.

The leaders discussed several political issues related to Maharashtra such as the severe drought situation, equation with Shiv Sena, the party’s preparedness at the regional level and the declining rural support base in other states. The leaders are also learnt to have discussed about the farm loan waivers announced in at least two states after the Congress came to power there.

The meeting was held after a one-day whirlwind tour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Maharashtra where he laid the foundation stone for several important infrastructure projects and highlighted the shoddy work of the previous Congress governments. Political experts termed it as the beginning of campaigning for the 2019 polls.

Shah’s instructions to party cadre to refrain from publicly sparring with the Sena came on a day when the upset ally boycotted the Prime Minister’s functions as the BJP did not extend an invite to Uddhav Thackeray for the events. The BJP, which recently faced a drubbing in the heartland, has to balance between portraying itself as the party which delivered on the promise of ‘development’ as well as ensuring that the Sena is a part of the alliance for the upcoming state polls.

The BJP has begun strategising for the 2019 elections to avoid a re-run of the assembly poll performance. Maharashtra is an important bastion as it has 48 seats. For the state elections, the party would want Shiv Sena to be a part of the alliance. But BJP’s defeat during the last five state elections will now only embolden the Sena to seek a Chief Minister’s position during talks.

Fadnavis will hold a meeting with all BJP leaders in the evening to convey Shah’s message to them.

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