Mumbai, Feb 6 (IANS) A day after poll strategist and Janata Dal-U Vice President Prashant Kishore called on Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, BJP leaders were on Wednesday optimistic of an alliance materialising soon. This comes 15 months after the Sena had announced that it would contest all future elections on its own.
Even Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut gave pointed indicators saying “things will be clear very soon” though he chose to describe Kishore’s luncheon meeting with Thackeray and his son Aditya Thackeray as “a courtesy visit”.
Kishore’s JD-U, which is part of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA like the Sena, was accorded a warm welcome by the Thackerays on Tuesday, sparking off intense speculation in political circles.
“Today, we had a special visitor over lunch. Some great talks,” said Aditya Thackeray on the development.
Kishore reciprocated with a tweet: “As part of NDA, we look forward to joining forces with you in Maharashtra to help secure victory in upcoming Lok Sabha elections and beyond.”
Though Sena leaders continue to be in denial mode, Kishore’s tweets hinted at the possibility of an alliance for both parliamentary and Assembly elections in the state this year.
After the Sena’s unilateral announcement in October 2017 that it would “go it alone in all future elections”, the BJP’s state and central leaders have been moving mountains to convince it for an alliance as elections loom ahead.
Much to the ally’s discomfiture, the Sena dismissed all overtures, continued targeting both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah and adopted a tough posture that the “next CM in Maharashtra will be from the Sena”.
However, after Kishore’s sudden visit, the state BJP is feeling optimistic that the pre-poll partnership may finally be a reality, a party leader said.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP-Sena alliance won 41 out of 48 seats, but split barely six months later and contested the assembly elections separately.
The Sena managed to scrape through and later joined the BJP-led state government.