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Updated April 4th, 2022 at 07:33 IST

Nitin Gadkari meets Raj Thackeray after MNS chief attacks MVA; avers 'visit not political'

In a key political development on Sunday night, Union Road Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari met MNS chief Raj Thackeray at his residence in Mumbai.

Akhil Oka
Nitin Gadkari, Raj Thackeray
Image: Republic TV | Image:self
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In a significant political development on Sunday night, Union Road Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari met MNS chief Raj Thackeray at his residence in Mumbai. This came a day after he lashed out at the MVA government during his public rally at Shivaji Park on the occasion of Gudi Padva. Speaking to the media after the meeting, Gadkari highlighted his longstanding relationship with Thackeray's family and denied any political motive.

"This was not a political meeting. I have got a good relationship with Raj Thackeray and his family members for 30 years. I had come to see his new house and to know his mother's well-being. It was a family visit and not political," Nitin Gadkari stated. 

On April 2, Thackeray had mocked Shiv Sena for claiming the Chief Minister's post after the 2019 Assembly polls despite the fact that the BJP top brass had made it clear during the poll campaign that the CM will be from BJP. Moreover, he took a dig at MVA for the arrest of Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh. Sparking buzz about a possible alliance with BJP, he also praised the governance model in Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh.

MNS-BJP tie-up speculation

The speculation about a possible BJP-MNS tie-up dates back to the period immediately after the formation of the MVA government in November 2020. In a party meeting held in Pune, Raj Thackery was very critical of Shiv Sena's distancing itself from Hindutva, according to sources.

The party's turn towards Hindutva gained momentum after it discarded its current flag - which has three colours - saffron, green and blue. Meanwhile, both ex-Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis and fellow BJP MLA Ashish Shelar held "secret meetings" with the MNS chief.

Addressing a massive rally at Azad Maidan in Mumbai on February 9, 2020, Raj Thackeray staunchly defended the CAA and the possible implementation of the National Register of Citizens. While acknowledging that the country had pressing issues such as education and unemployment, he opined that the issue of infiltrators was of utmost significance.

However, there was no development vis-à-vis the alliance talks post the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In January this year, Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil stressed that his party will not form an alliance with MNS for the upcoming Municipal Corporation elections in Nashik, Mumbai, Pune, and Thane.

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Published April 4th, 2022 at 07:33 IST

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