After carrying out Ganapati darshan diplomacy, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Tuesday hosted dinner for the legislators of the ruling alliance comprising BJP, Shinde camp and independents. However, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray was a special invitee.
Recently, Shinde himself visited Raj Thackeray, who recovered from his recent surgery, for Ganapati darshan. A slew of BJP leaders including DCM Devendra Fadnavis, state party chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Minister of women and child development Mangal Prabhat Lodha also visited Raj Thackeray’s residence. Even though Raj Thackeray has not given any indication of an alliance for BMC elections, there is an attempt by the BJP and Shinde camp to bring him on board with a common objective of defeating Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena which is yet to recover from the defection of 40 legislators after the rebellion launched by Shinde.
A minister from Shinde camp told the Free PressJournal, "It was CM's attempt to meet ruling alliance legislators and ensure them that the government is in firm footing and they should not be worried about their works as he will personally clear them. They were also told to neglect opposition’s criticism as the government is committed to speed up the development process." He said the presence of Raj Thackeray was to send a signal to Uddhav Thackeray faction that the new alliance will be lethal to demolish its hold in BMC.
A three-term legislator said CM is very clear that the alliance with BJP will help him to spread its wings in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra. "Today’s dinner was to keep legislators in good humour and tell them that due to maximum size of cabinet with 43 ministers he cannot accommodate everyone but they will continue to get due prominence in the party and in the government," he added.