Mumbai: Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah on Wednesday wooed Bollywood glamour and India Inc., and sulking ally Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, in the party’s new initiative Sampark for Samarthan prior to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Accompanied by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Shah arrived at ‘Matoshri’, the Thackeray residence in Bandra east late evening.
After the initial exchange of pleasantries, Shah and Thackeray were closeted along for over an hour amid intense political speculation outside.
Fadnavis was not present in the meeting, while state BJP President Raosaheb Patil-Danve kept away in deference to the Shiv Sena’s wishes.
In their second meeting after a year – and the first after the acrimonious Palghar Lok Sabha bypolls last week – Shah was expected to mollify Thackeray and convince him to support the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in future elections.
Incidentally, hours before the meeting, the Sena – through its mouthpieces Saamana and Dopahar Ka Saamana – questioned what the BJP hoped to achieve by the ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ and reiterated it would go solo in future.
Soon after his arrival in Mumbai in the morning, Shah called on Bollywood actresss Madhuri Dixit-Nene and her doctor-husband Sriram Nene and later former Tata Group Chairman and philanthropist Ratan Tata.
Shah was accompanied by Fadnavis and Patil-Danve and other leaders in his visits, where they explained the achievements of the Modi government and presented a booklet on the same.
However, a scheduled meeting with Lata Mangeshkar was cancelled at the last minute since she was indisposed.
I was to meet Amit Shahji but since I am down because of food poisoning I spoke to him over phone and told him that next time when he comes to Mumbai, I would meet him, tweeted Lata Didi, as she is popularly known.
Shah apprised the celebrities of the work done by Modi and his team in the last four years, the NDA government’s achievements and their vision for India.
As always, it was inspiring to meet Ratan Tataji with Amit Shahji… We also presented him a book on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on auspicious Shivrajyabhishek din, Fadnavis later tweeted.
In another tweet, he said met Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Dr Nene and family with Amit Shahji as a part of ‘Sampark For Samarthan’, an initiative to meet dignitaries to share the historic decisions and achievements of Modi’s four years.
Later, Patil-Danve laid to rest speculation that Madhuri Dixit-Nene would be offered a BJP Rajya Sabha nomination, claiming no decision has been taken in the matter.
Shah also visited the landmark Siddhi Vinayak Temple in Prabhadevi this evening and called on Mumbai BJP President Ashish Shelar before proceeding to the Thackeray home.
As part of ‘Sampark for Samarthan’, Shah has so far met former Indian Army chief Dalbir Singh Suhag, scholar and former Lok Sabha Secretary General Subhash Kashyap and former Team Indian skipper and legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev, retired Chief Justice of India R.C. Lahoti, and yoga guru Baba Ramdev.