Maharashtra Lok Sabha Elections 2024: PM Modi's Soft Approach Towards Uddhav Thackeray Raises Speculation Of Post-Poll Alliance

Maharashtra Lok Sabha Elections 2024: PM Modi's Soft Approach Towards Uddhav Thackeray Raises Speculation Of Post-Poll Alliance

Political observers wonder if the PM's refusal to hit back at Uddhav and even his offer of help underlies a plan to join hands with the Shiv Sena (UBT) if his party falls short of numbers to form the government.

S BalakrishnanUpdated: Saturday, May 04, 2024, 12:23 PM IST
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi's renunciatory approach towards Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray has resulted in intense speculation about a possible post poll understanding between the BJP and the saffron party.  In an interview given to TV9 Modi became emotional while talking about the late Bal Thackeray, founder of the Shiv Sena. 

Modi claimed he had close ties with the Thackeray family for whom he had 'profound admiration'. Significantly, he said it was because Balasaheb loved him that he let Eknath Shinde of the Shiv Sena become the chief minister even though the BJP had a majority of MLAs. It may be recalled that Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP had assumed that he would be made the CM after the downfall of the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government. However, in a surprise twist of events the BJP's central leadership made Shinde the CM. The PM said it was his tribute to Balasaheb.

PM Modi Balancing Political Rivalry And Personal Respect

Modi, who only recently dubbed the Shiv Sena (UBT) as a 'fake sena', also pointed out that he was reluctant to speak against Uddhav during the election campaign despite the political rivalry between the two parties. He attributed this "restraint to his reverence for Balasaheb." Most interestingly he said if "Uddhav Thackeray or his family faced any issue other than political ones, he'd be the first to rush to their rescue."  

Modi's remarks are to be seen in the context of the fact that Uddhav Thackeray has been most acerbic in his criticism of Modi during his rallies across Maharashtra. Uddhav had not left a single chance to personally target Modi. 

PM Modi's Strategic Silence And Potential Alliances

Political observers wonder if the PM's refusal to hit back at Uddhav and even his offer of help  underlies a plan to join hands with the Shiv Sena (UBT) if his party falls short of numbers to form the government. "Even though Modi has offered help to the Thackerays outside of politics, nothing will prevent him to extend political help as well, if needed," a senior BJP leader noted.

However, the relationship between the BJP and the Shiv Sena (UBT) has touched the nadir. Uddhav feels (and rightly so) that the BJP has split the undivided Shiv Sena as a part of its plan to have 'shat pratishat' (100%) control over the political space in Maharashtra. Not only did the BJP split the Sena, but also attempted to politically marginalise the left over Uddhav faction by making a long-time Shiv Sainik, Eknath Shinde, as the chief minister.  Whatever may be post-poll situation, Modi has in his interview dropped sufficient hints that he has a few aces up his sleeve vis-a-vis the Thackerays.

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