Mumbai: Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s exclusive 30-minute meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday left his allies, the NCP and the Congress, as well as his opponents, slack-jawed. Thackeray’s second meeting after taking over as CM in November 2019 also led to a buzz about a possible reunion between estranged allies Shiv Sena and BJP being on the cards. Although Sena MP Sanjay Raut has ruled out the possibility of a new political equation, Thackeray has shown that he is like his father, Bal Thackeray, who had friends of every hue and colour in every corner.
Confirming his private interaction with Modi, Thackeray said, “We may not be together politically but that doesn’t mean our relationship is broken. Main koi Nawaz Sharif se nahi milne gaya tha'. So, if I meet the PM separately in person, there’s nothing wrong in it.” Thackeray reminded that his bond with Modi was not new but has existed for a long time.
Thackeray’s closed-door meeting with Modi comes on the heels of the growing tension between the Centre and the Maha Vikas Aghadi government on various issues, including the limited supply of vaccines and medicines to combat the pandemic. While his party ministers and NCP and Congress leaders were firing salvos against the BJP-led government at the Centre, with Tuesday’s meeting, Thackeray opened up a channel of communication to maintain cordial relations between the Centre and Maharashtra.
The meeting coincided with state BJP leaders, including former CM Devendra Fadnavis and Chandrakant Patil issuing new dates for the collapse of the MVA government in the state. Thackeray has sent out a strong signal to the BJP that it should drop its plans for an ‘Operational Lotus’ in the state, as he is firmly in the saddle with strong support and cooperation from his new allies.
At the same time, Thackeray has also sent a strong message to the NCP and the Congress that they cannot take him for a ride and underestimate him for his lack of administrative experience. He has indicated that he is the boss and as allies, they should have full faith and confidence in him and in the stability of the government.