Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan apparently backtracked from his earlier position of not holding talks with MNS chief Raj Thackeray if the latter put preconditions, when he invited Raj for talks at 9 am on Thursday. It was following this that Raj called off the stir.
On Tuesday, Raj Thackeray told the media that he would hold talks with the CM only on the condition that the latter announce, in the presence of the media, an end to toll collection within 30 days. That was apparently to dispel any notion of an underhand deal.
On Wednesday, after Raj was arrested in Chembur, en route to Vashi, Chavan called him and invited him for talks at 9 am on Thursday. This has raised the suspicion that there was some kind of an underhand deal between the ruling alliance and the MNS.
After he was detained Sharmila, Raj's wife, sat on dharna near the police station. Subsequently, the MNS chief was released, and he called off the agitation and urged his his party cadre to remain calm.
Earlier in the day, Chavan had told the media that the MNS should be engaging in talks instead of destroying public property and inconveniencing the public. He said the whole episode looked like a gimmick with the elections in mind. Chavan also requested them to hold talks with the government on the issue.
"It looks suspicious; the CM first says he will not hold talks the MNS leader if he puts preconditions. Then he invites Raj immediately after he is arrested," said a congressmen.
Deputy CM Ajit Pawar also said that the common people shouldn't be inconvenienced.
No discussion at cabinet meet
Surprisingly, in the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, there were no discussions at all on the toll issue. Nobody raised it, and it had then seemed that this was done deliberately to avoid giving Raj importance. "Not even in the pre-cabinet meeting of congress members, did this issue come up," said a source.