In a well-planned visit to Mumbai on Wednesday, BJP President Amit Shah called on several prominent Mumbaikars, including Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, Tata Sons Chairman-Emeritus Ratan Tata, and actor Madhuri Dixit, as part of his party’s ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ (contact for support) campaign.
His visit to Matoshree, the residence of the Sena President, is being seen by political watchers as an attempt by BJP to mend fences with its ally, in the wake of bitterness during the recent Palghar by-election.
The Sena mouthpiece Saamana had mocked the BJP’s outreach campaign, calling it a “game”.
Inopportune visit: Sena
In an editorial, it pointed out that at a time when fuel prices had sky-rocketed, farmers were on strike, and inflation on the rise, the BJP President was holding contact programmes.
It said electoral “motives” were behind Shah’s campaign. The editorial said the Sena would fight the 2019 elections on its own. It is always in touch with people and does not require a poster boy to win the elections, the editorial said.
Shah and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also called upon Tata. After the meeting, he tweeted, that he apprised the former Tata Group Chairman of the Modi government’s development achievements and initiatives.
The BJP chief also met Bollywood diva Madhuri Dixit and presented to her a booklet containing the achievements of the BJP government.
To cut a deal: Chavan
Reacting to the meeting between Thackeray and Shah, the Congress’ Maharashtra President, Ashok Chavan, called it an eyewash as both BJP and Sena were unlikely to break their alliance. The meeting was aimed at cutting “a political deal”, and had no other objective, the former chief minister said.
Political analyst Nagesh Kesari said the BJP’s intentions were to paint a rosy picture of their alliance with the Shiv Sena.
However, the BJP did not want Sena as an ally. There was no need for such a meeting as Sena is still a member of the BJP-led NDA, and the leaders of the party could have met at a meeting of the coalition. The meeting is party of the BJP’s well-thought-out strategy of remaining in the media’s limelight, he said.