Mumbai: Setting the tone for the parallel Shiv Sena rallies on Dussehra, the Eknath Shinde-led party reiterated the claim that Uddhav Thackeray wanted to return to the NDA fold – a statement which was pooh-poohed by the latter.
The claim came from Shiv Sena spokesperson and Marathi Language Minister Deepak Kesarkar, who referred to the 8 June, 2021 meeting of Thackeray, who now heads Shiv Sena (UBT), with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
The Shiv Sena-BJP alliance broke in October 2019 after the result of the Vidhan Sabha polls and Thackeray joined hands with the Sharad Pawar-led NCP and the Congress to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
Thackeray wanted to split the Chief Minister’s post for two-and-a-half-years between the two long-standing saffron allies, which the BJP leadership including Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah and then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ruled out.
Though Thackeray became the Chief Minister of the MVA government, it was toppled later.
“Uddhav ji wanted to join (BJP-led NDA) after meeting Modi ji,” Kesarkar claimed.
In this meeting with Modi, Thackeray was accompanied by then Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar of NCP and veteran Congress leader and then minister Ashok Chavan.
After the formal meeting, Thackeray and Modi had a closed-door one-on-one meeting.
It may be mentioned, on 19 July, 2022, Shiv Sena group leader and MP Rahul Shewale had made a similar claim.
Elaborating further, Kesarkar said: “Sunil Tatkare (Ajit Pawar-led NCP state unit President) also stated the same. I also did mediation then. I can say 100 per cent that after Thackeray returned to Mumbai from Delhi, the alliance was to be formed again in 15 days. But time was sought,” Kesarkar said.
However, he went on to add: “At that time, we did not know who played the villain … .but it was Tatkare who revealed that (Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP) Sanjay Raut, without consulting Uddhav Thackeray, leaked the information to NCP. The alliance could not restart and Raut had the main role in it,” Kesarkar alleged.
He said that Modi was very positive because of the love and respect towards late Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray.
When asked about Kesarkar’s statement, Shiv Sena (UBT) MLC Anil Parab said: “Do you think that all these things would have been told to Kesarkar.”
(Published 16 October 2023, 18:39 IST)