Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah will meet ally Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray with the main agenda of discussions likely to centre around the upcoming presidential election, party officials said here on Thursday. The meeting will take place at the Thackeray residence, ‘Matoshri’ in Bandra east on Sunday during the three-day visit of Shah to Mumbai to celebrate the BJP’s three years in power at the Centre under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The meeting assumes significance for the BJP as the Shiv Sena is the most vocal critic of the party, the Prime Minister and also its Maharashtra alliance partner Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. In an embarrassment for the ruling BJP, its ally Shiv Sena has virtually joined ranks with the state opposition parties demanding complete loan waiver for farmers and on other major issues confronting the state. Shah is expected to mollify Thackeray and ensure his support for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate in the upcoming presidential election. In fact, even as the Shah-Thackeray ‘summit’ was announced on Thursday, the Shiv Sena fired missives at neighbouring Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is grappling with a farmers’ agitation.
The Sena is upset over the Chouhan government’s refusal of permission to various opposition parties, including Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and Gujarat reservations leader Hardik Patel, to meet the families of the victims killed in the recent police firing during the farmers’ agitation in Mandsaur.
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“This is wrong… If this continues, it could prove damaging for the country’s democracy,” the Sena opined in an edit in the party mouthpieces ‘Saamana’ and ‘Dopahar Ka Saamana’ on Thursday.