Describing the meeting between party president Amit Shah and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray at the latter’s residence as “positive”, the BJP on Wednesday said that more meetings between top leaders of the two parties were likely in the coming months. After holding talks with Thackeray, Shah held a meeting with the top leadership of the BJP to discuss the political challenges and strategy for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Highly placed sources in the BJP told The Indian Express, “The top leadership of BJP and Shiv Sena are likely to hold two to three such meetings in the coming months. It was a good beginning. It helped in mending broken fences especially in the backdrop of bitterness developed during the Lok Sabha by-polls at Palghar.”
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was also present at the meeting between Shah and Thackeray, where issues related to coalition conflict, both political and administrative, were discussed. Conceding that the BJP had taken the initiative for the meeting with Shiv Sena, insiders in the party said, “It is part of strategy to reach out to each and every alliance partner ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.”
Shah, sources said, told Thackeray, that the BJP is ready to make course corrections as a fallout of some misunderstandings or circumstances and that the BJP desired a pre-poll alliance with the Sena for the 2019 polls.
The party stressed that the Sena was a most valued partner. Conceding that they were not expecting any concrete commitment on any pre-poll tie up in the very first meeting, a senior cabinet minister said, “What cannot be overlooked is that Sena leaders held a dialogue with BJP leaders for almost two hours.”
In politics decisions are not taken overnight and both parties are bound to evaluate ground realities and arrive at a consensus, he said.
A BJP leader said, “Thackeray welcomed Shah and Fadnavis. When the meeting concluded, Thackeray accompanied by son Aaditya walked upto the main entrance to see off the BJP leaders. Thackeray displayed no hostility against the BJP leadership.”
Explaining the political significance of the meeting, a BJP leader said, “In the last four years of the Narendra Modi government, Shah was always perceived as a hardliner (anti-Sena). Therefore, engaging Shah for a dialogue with Thackeray was a first step to break the ice.”