Amit Shah to stay in Bandra; no word on Thackeray meet

Mumbai :  BJP president Amit Shah is scheduled to stay at Rangshara near Matoshree in Bandra during his first visit to the city after taking over as party chief on Tuesday.

But there is no official word yet on whether he would meet Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

A huge welcome awaits Mumbai-born Shah when he arrives at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 11.45 am.

He will first attend a meeting of the state BJP’s core committee at the residence of Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Vinod Tawde and address party workers at the Shanmukhananda Auditorium in the evening.

He is also slated to visit the Lalbaugcha Raja Ganpati Mandal in Lower Parel and the Ganesh Mandal represented by Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar and perform ‘maha-aarti’ at a Gilder Tank ground in south Mumbai’s Grant Road area.

Shah will then visit an exhibition on the life of Prime Minister Narendra Modi organised by party legislator Mangalprabhat Lodha.

However, with less than two months to go for the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly elections and the deadlock continuing among the allies over sharing of seats, there is no official word over whether Shah would meet Thackeray.

Shiv Sena leader Divakar Rawte indicated that his party would like Shah to meet Uddhav Thackeray at Matoshree where senior BJP leaders such as A B Vajpayee, L K Advani, Pramod Mahajan and Rajnath Singh had paid visits. Gopinath Munde too used to rush to the Shiv Sena chief’s residence whenever there were problems in the alliance.

The silence over the meeting with Thackeray is seen as a clear message to the Sena leadership of the changed equations between the alliance partners.

Shiv Sena workers too are said to be uneasy with the way hoardings have been put in the city to welcome Shah. The hoardings say ‘Aab Maharashtra, Sab Maharashtra.’ This is being interpreted by some political workers as an indication of BJP’s preparedness to go to assembly polls without Shiv Sena.

Encouraged by its remarkable success in Lok Sabha elections, BJP has been insisting on greater number of seats than it had contested in the 2009 Legislative Assembly polls. In 2009, Shiv Sena had contested 169 seats and BJP 119, winning 44 and 46 seats respectively in the 288-member house.

There has been no headway in the seat-sharing talks between the two parties. Several smaller allies, including RPI (Athavale), have expressed concern over the delay in finalising the seats. However, both BJP and Shiv Sena leaders have been insisting that things would be sorted out.

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