In what could create fissures in the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance, former BJP president Nitin Gadkari today met the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray at a hotel here.
Earlier in the day, when reports of the meeting emerged, city BJP chief Ashish Shelar denied them on twitter. However, a source in BJP, close to Gadkari, said the meeting did take place. "Yes, Gadkari met Raj Thackeray at the Four Seasons hotel in Worli. They had a lunch together. As the two are friends, they discussed various things, including the current political situation," the source told PTI.
Nitinji & Raj are accessible people and they met each other for a discussion on Congress Free India.
— ashish shelar (@ShelarAshish) March 3, 2014
In the past the state BJP leadership had tried to woo Raj Thackeray. Shiv Sena, led by Raj's estranged cousin Uddhav, had indicated that it was not happy with the attempt to bring MNS into the saffron alliance. the party today refused to react. "We have nothing to say on the meeting," Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said.
Gadkari is known to enjoy a good rapport with Raj. Last month he attended with Raj, the ground-breaking ceremony of Goda Park, a riverbank beautification project of Nashik Municipal Corporation where MNS is in power with the support of BJP.
Meanwhile, speaking to media later in the evening, Gadkari said, "I discussed with the MNS chief the ways to get rid of the Congress government." "There is no reason for Uddhav Thackeray to be annoyed over my meeting Raj...I meet everybody including the Congress people," he said.
Asked if Sharad Pawar-led NCP will come over to NDA after the elections, Gadkari said it is said anything can happen in cricket and politics. "We are confident of getting a clear majority on our own," the BJP leader added.
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