Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said on Tuesday that the atmosphere is changing as far as the camaraderie between Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is concerned. The two leaders had a one-on-one interaction on the sidelines of a delegation-level meeting held in Delhi during the day. “The CM met the PM alone for some time today. The relationship is of affection. The CM had personally called the PM who immediately received the call and gave him time,” Raut told CNN News18.
When asked about the change in personal relations from the time a year ago when Modi did not receive calls to a time when the PM is granting an immediate appointment, Raut said, “Mahaul badal raha hai (the atmosphere is changing).”
The Shiv Sena is heading the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra in alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress. The deal was stitched after the Sena snapped decades-old ties with the BJP following the 2019 Assembly elections.
Speaking to reporters in Delhi, Thackeray said the meeting with Modi was not political and the duo shared a very cordial relationship. “We may not be politically together but that does not mean our relationship has broken. ‘Main koi Nawaz Sharif se nahi milne gaya tha’ (I did not go to meet (former Pakistan PM) Nawaz Sharif),” the Sena supremo said.
When asked about the meeting, Raut said, “Pawar Saheb (NCP chief Sharad Pawar) and we also fought for several years politically, but we had very cordial personal relations.” He then added that this should not be seen in terms of the current scenario. “Our political ways might be different, but there are personal relations,” Raut, who is also the editor of Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said. He further said Modi had treated late Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray with a lot of respect.
Tuesday’s meeting in the national capital and the statements thereafter have led to many speculations in Maharashtra’s political circles. However, former CM and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said there was nothing unusual for the due to hold a closed-door meeting.
The delegation to Delhi also had Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar and cabinet minister from the Congress Ashok Chavan. They reportedly discussed with the PM several key issues, including Maratha reservation, quota for backward classes in panchayat, reservation for promotion of backward classes and metro car shed in Kanjurmarg and an out-of-court solution for the same. Talks were also held on GST compensation, crop insurance and changing the NDRF’s criteria for natural calamity. The team also spoke to Modi about pending dues of urban local bodies and rural local bodies in the 14th Finance Commission, according classical language status to Marathi, governor’s 12 nominees for legislature.