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Uddhav Thackeray Makes Devendra Fadnavis Sit Out Amit Shah's Outreach Meeting

According to sources, while the meeting between Shah and Thackeray took place on the second floor, Fadnavis was seated on the ground floor of Matoshree.

Vinaya Deshpande | CNN-News18

Updated:June 7, 2018, 12:49 PM IST

Mumbai: BJP president Amit Shah’s attempt to repair relations with its oldest and most difficult ally, Shiv Sena, got off to a bumpy start as Uddhav Thackeray refused to let Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis attend the meeting on Wednesday evening.

Shah walked into Thackeray residence Matoshree in Mumbai's Bandra with Fadnavis, but in a major snub, Thackrey asked the CM to sit out the meeting. According to sources, while the meeting took place on the second floor, Fadnavis was seated on the ground floor of the house.

Sena leaders told CNN-News18 that Amit Shah was sent a message in the morning itself that Uddhav will meet only him. This is the first meeting at Matoshree after Shah's visit last year when he had come around to patch-up cracks in the alliance over support for the presidential nominee. Fadnavis was a part of the meeting then.

Ties between Thackeray and Fadnavis have been strained for a while now and reached an inveterate bitterness after the Palghar Lok Sabha bypolls. The snub could also be Uddhav’s tit-for-tat response for Fadnavis not meeting him in March this year, after making him wait for over two hours.

The meeting is being seen with much significance since the two allies have been bickering for quite some time. The Sena considers the BJP's efforts to consolidate its foothold in Mumbai as a threat to its political existence and has promised to quit the NDA ahead of next year's general elections.

The BJP has said the meeting is in connection with its Sampark for Samarthan (contact for support) campaign being led by Shah in the run up to next year's polls.

The meeting lasted for around two hours. While officially there was no word from both the parties about what transpired in the meeting, BJP sources claimed that the discussion was "positive" and would help reduce the tension between the two allies significantly. The two parties may have two or three more such meetings, the sources added.

The two allies had contested the May 28 bypolls to Palghar Lok Sabha constituency of Maharashtra separately and engaged in a bitter campaign against each other.

The Shiv Sena has particularly been upset with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has repeatedly attacked him. After facing defeat in the Palghar bypolls at the hands of the BJP, the Shiv Sena labelled the ally party as its "biggest political enemy".

The Shiv Sena has also already declared that it will go alone in the 2019 general elections. 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 government under the leadership of Fadnavis in the state.

Hours before the meeting, the party also put out a scathing editorial in "Saamna". In it, the party questioned the BJP's outreach programme after suffering defeat in bypolls in various states. The editorial maintained that the Sena will fight all the upcoming elections alone.

"The prime minister is touring the world and BJP chief Amit Shah 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 defeat in bypolls," the Sena asked.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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