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Mar 04, 2014 at 08:38am IST

BJP tries damage control after meet with MNS, Sena reportedly upset

Mumbai: The Bharatiya Janata Party is trying to balance its allies' concerns after its meeting with Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray. Maharashtra BJP President Devendra Fadnavis held a meeting with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Monday night.

This came amidst reports that the Shiv Sena is unhappy about the meeting between BJP leader Nitin Gadkari and Raj Thackeray. Senior BJP leader Nitin Garkari met the MNS chief on Monday and appealed to him to abstain from contesting the Lok Sabha elections to avoid splitting the anti-Congress vote.

ALSO SEE Gadkari asks MNS not to contest LS polls, Shiv Sena kept in dark

The meeting apparently took place without the Sena's knowledge. The BJP Maharashtra President has, however, denied that the Sena is upset, tweeting to say that the meeting with Uddhav was a scheduled one to discuss the BJP-Sena joint campaign.

"We want to ensure that the Congress-NCP don't benefit from a split in the anti-Congress vote. If the MNS abstains it will help the Shiv Sena candidates. Don't think the Sena is upset," Gadkari said after his meeting with Raj Thackeray.

Meanwhile, in a statement by the Shiv Sena, party chief Uddhav Thackeray said that there was a communication gap within the BJP. "There is a communication gap within the BJP. Those within the BJP who are praising Congress-NCP leaders are responsible for creating a communication gap. It is the internal matter of the BJP but the Mahayuti is determined to unseat the Congress-NCP government," Uddhav said.

The 2009 results tweeted by a Narendra Modi supporter showed that the MNS was an X-factor as the party did not win seats but helped the Congress in atleast 10 constituencies. Spread across Mumbai, Bhiwandi, Thane and Pune, the MNS candidates polled close to 1 lakh or more votes, that essentially was the difference between victory and a defeat for the Congress-NCP and Shiv Sena-BJP candidates.

A possible rapprochement between estranged cousins Uddhav and Raj, many believed would be a game changer in the 2014 elections. While the Raj-Gadkari meeting may have caused some disquiet in the Shiv Sena camp, any kind of understanding with the MNS will benefit the BJP-Sena alliance.

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