Friday, April, 19,2024

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Mumbai: Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday called on Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray at his Shivaji Park residence Shivteerth amid speculation that the BJP may induct Thackeray scion Amit into the new cabinet. “Amit Thackeray could be one of the 12 Governor-nominated MLCs. After all, the MNS had supported the BJP during the Legislative Council polls and their lone MLA Raju Patil cast his vote for us,” said a senior BJP leader.

This person said the BJP is in favour of mending their relationship with the MNS, although its chief had chosen to target the Narendra Modi-government and its policies during the 2019 assembly election campaign. In the last few months, Thackeray has warmed up to the BJP and spoken out in favour of Hindutva.

In line with the plan to project Eknath Shinde as the “true” inheritor of the brand of Hindutva personified by Balasaheb Thackeray and Anand Dighe to decimate the Shiv Sena, the BJP is looking to rope in Amit Thackeray, groom him and pit him against Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya. The BJP could also leave 8-10 seats in the BMC elections for the MNS if he aligns with the party, and also use Raj Thackeray to canvas for the BJP against the Shiv Sena. The BJP had similarly enrolled Maneka Gandhi and later, her son Varun who was being groomed to take on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in the political sphere, although the experiment did not bear fruit.

MNS remained tightlipped about the possibility of Amit joining the government, and Fadnavis refused to directly confirm or deny the issue. “Raj Thackeray underwent a surgery recently and many leaders are calling on him as a courtesy. I had also planned to meet him, and had said so in the house. So, why are people getting a stomach ache when I called on him?” When specifically asked to comment on Amit Thackeray’s purported induction, Fadnavis said, “These days it appears that the media does not have enough news stories.”

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