Shiv Sena leader Milind Narvekar is known to be in touch with ex-Congress leader Urmila Matondkar, raising speculations that the actress-turned-politician is courting the saffron party.
According to reports, on Monday evening, Narvekar spoke to the former Congress leader over the phone. As per Shiv Sena sources, Urmila Matondkar is known to be in touch with the Uddhav Thackeray-led party for 2-3 days now. However, the Shiv Sena's Milind Narvekar has stated that the call with Urmila Matondkar was a courtesy call and not political in nature.
Urmila Matondkar who contested from Mumbai North for the Lok Sabha elections 2019 on a Congress ticket resigned from the party on September 10, citing 'petty inhouse politics.' In a statement, she said that her complaint to former Mumbai Congress chief Milind Deora went unheeded by the party leadership in the city.
Urmila Matondkar in the statement stated that not only was her letter to the former Congress chief dated May 16 was leaked, but also her concerns where she had held certain people responsible for her electoral loss due to 'petty in-house politics' were not addressed. She has alleged that the same people she blamed for her Lok Sabha polls defeat have been rewarded by the Congress.
A day after the actor-turned-politician called it quits from the party, senior Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit censured Urmila by calling her 'business-minded.' However, amid the controversy, Deora Urmila Matondkar's reason to quit. Taking to Twitter, he said that he stood by Matondkar when she was let down by those who brought her into the party. He added that Mumbai North Congress leaders must be held accountable. Urmila Matondkar resigned from Congress stating that those whom she accused of failing to work for her Lok Sabha elections campaigning were rewarded rather than being held accountable.
Amid speculations of a tiff over seat-sharing formula between the saffron allies, the Shiv Sena has been conducting interviews of aspirants for all 288 Assembly seats.The BJP had taken a lead in conducting such interviews in the last few weeks. Officially, leader of both the parties has been maintaining that the BJP and the Sena will contest the polls together. Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday held a meeting of party MPs, MLAs, divisional heads (vibhaag pramukhs) at his residence 'Matoshree' in Mumbai to take stock of the preparations and assessed the list of probable candidates for western Maharashtra and Marathwada, sources said.
While the Sena is stressing on the 50:50 seat-sharing formula for the upcoming polls, the BJP is apparently eyeing more seats to accommodate leaders from other parties who have joined the party recently. However, Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray, who is currently touring Konkan region as a part of his 'Jan Aashirwad Yatra', maintained the Sena will go by the 50:50 formula announced by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis while declaring the alliance in February.
"The Shiv Sena never betrayed anyone. We will go by what the Chief Minister had said at the press conference. Beyond that, we will abide by whatever orders the party president give to us," he told reporters.
In 2014 elections, the Sena and the BJP had contested the assembly elections separately, as the seat-sharing talks between both the parties collapsed at the last moment. They later came together to form the government. The BJP had then won 122 seats while the Sena 63.