Even as the meeting between former BJP president Nitin Gadkari and MNS chief Raj Thackeray on Monday created ripples in the political circles, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) went on a defensive.
Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Vinod Tawde said even the Shiv Sena will get benefit along with the BJP, if Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) does not become an obstacle in Narendra Modi becoming the Prime Minister of the country.
When asked on whether the Sena was taken into confidence on the issue, Tawde said it was not as if the MNS was being brought into the fold of grand alliance in the state. If MNS was brought into the party, then the situation would have been different.
Tawde pointed out that both parties should be communicating directly and not through the media indirectly referring to the editorial in the "Saamna".
According to Tawde, Gadkari's attempt to find a common platform with the MNS and reduce the division of votes of the opposition was approved by the party leadership. Later, state BJP president Devendra Fadnavis said that as far as the state unit was concerned, they had drawn curtains over the issue.
Fadnavis refused to be drawn into the controversy and said he does not wish to comment on the meeting of Gadkari with Thackeray as Gadkari was a national leader. Fadnavis clarified that he was not summoned by the Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to discuss this issue.
Fadnavis said the meeting was pre-decided and it was with regard to public rallies in Vidarbha. On the meeting of the BJP leaders on Tuesday, Fadnavis said the meeting was to decide on some of the seats of the BJP and no decision was taken.
Meanwhile, there was clear unhappiness in the Gopinath Munde camp in the state unit, who felt that it was unnecessary on part of Gadkari to meet Raj Thackeray and make the reasons public.
"Raj Thackeray has been given unnecessary importance and this has just increased his relevance. In any case, his party was in a dormant mode," said a BJP leader.