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BJP’s attempts to woo Raj Thackeray may backfire?

Mumbai: Maharashtra Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unit President Chandrashekhar Bawankule met Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray in Mumbai on Tuesday. The meeting between two leaders has sparked talk within the BJP about the move possibly backfiring on the party in the near future. Bawankule’s one-onone dialogue with Thackeray follows a similar meeting between Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis— who is also a senior BJP leader—and the MNS chief on Monday, which was denied by the latter. “Raj Thackeray may not probably work to ensure a political tide in favour of the BJP, but, he will certainly work against the Shiv Sena faction led by Uddhav Thackeray. This has prompted overtures to him from BJP leaders in Maharashtra. In a similar move, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s faction of rebel Sena MLAs and MPs will be offered up to 18 MP seats in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections,” said a senior BJP leader privy to the development. The leader, however, justified the 60:40 ratio announced for the BJP and Shinde faction for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. “Very often a political move is aimed at a different purpose than the one that is immediately apparent. The offer of extra MP seats to the Shinde faction may also work to influence the six remaining Shiv Sena MPs still with Uddhav Thackeray’s group.

It can also be used to woo other aspiring MP aspirants from the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to make a beeline for the BJP before the next general elections,” he said. He also conceded that both moves have the potential to backfire on the BJP for different reasons. “The Shinde faction (after severing ties with Uddhav Thackeray’s Sena) is an untested political entity, as of now. The BJP should have waited till the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections (and polls to 22 other civic municipalities in Maharashtra) were concluded. Similarly, wooing Raj Thackeray may not necessarily work out as expected, as he is known for changing his political stance to suit his political convenience at any given time. ‘Josh mein aakar hosh mat kho jao’ (Do not take a hasty decision in enthusiasm)” said the leader.

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