A cloud of instability hovers over the horizon in Maharashtra politics, as highly placed sources have revealed that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar met recently in Mumbai to discuss the state’s political situation.
The development comes in the backdrop of growing hostility between the BJP and Sena, which has sparked talks of new possibilities in terms of government formation in the state.
The sources claimed Mr Thackeray — who visited the Maratha strongman at the latter's Mumbai residence a few days ago, along with his party’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut — had asked Mr Pawar about the likely stand of the NCP if Sena should decide to withdraw from the BJP-led state government. Mr Pawar allegedly told Mr Thackeray that the Sena should first withdraw its support and only then he would make his stand clear.
Mr Thackeray, who has been slamming the BJP regularly over governance issues, is also believed to have frankly told Mr Pawar that he is not satisfied with the government’s work.
When contacted by The Asian Age on Tuesday, Mr Pawar admitted that he had met Mr Thackeray but denied that any political talks took place between them. “It is true that I met Uddhav and Sanjay Raut. But there was no political discussion. I had a cordial relationship with Uddhav’s father, which is well known. I have met Uddhav many times before this,” said Mr Pawar. He added, “Sena looks disturbed over its alliance with BJP, I could sense that.”
Asked how the NCP would react to the Sena withdrawing support to the state government, the veteran leader said his party had publicly made its stand clear on the issue. “Praful Patel yesterday said that NCP would not help the BJP or Sena in any case. There’s no question about it. We are quite clear on the issue,” said Mr Pawar.
Despite attempts by The Asian Age, Mr Thackeray did not speak on the issue. However, a senior leader said the party might make its stand clear on Wednesday.