Raj Thackeray meets Ajit Pawar amid Oppn alliance bid

Raj Thackeray meets Ajit Pawar amid Oppn alliance bid

Raj Thackerey. ANI file photo.

In a development that can create ripples in Maharashtra's politics, MNS president Raj Thackeray met senior Nationalist Congress Party leader and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar in Mumbai on Wednesday. 

Pawar, the nephew of NCP supremo and former union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, calls the shots in the party.
The meeting has not been confirmed officially and no details have emerged. However, it comes a day after Pawar batted for the inclusion of MNS in the grand alliance to defeat BJP and Shiv Sena.
Though the Congress and NCP are in seat-sharing talks and firming up a 'mahagathbandhan', the former is averse to inclusion of Raj's political outfit Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh led by Prakash Ambedkar.
Raj, the estranged cousin of Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and nephew of the late Bal Thackeray, is a powerful orator and a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Cong no to MNS

However, because of his anti-migrant stance, the Congress is averse to MNS' inclusion in the Oppostion alliance fearing backlash in North Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Senior Congress leaders, including state president Ashok Chavan and Mumbai unit president Sanjay Nirupam, have said no to Raj's entry. However, former union minister Milind Deora, who had been vocal against Nirupam, seems to have a soft corner for Raj Thackeray.
As for BBM, the Congress has said no as Ambedkar, the grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, has an alliance with Owaisi brothers-led AIMIM, which is an ally of K Chandrashekar Rao-led TRS. Rao is a vocal critic of Congress president  Rahul Gandhi.
Pawar on Tuesday had stated that his "personal view" is that MNS needs to be part of Opposition alliance. "All secular parties must come together to defeat BJP and Sena. Every political party has a base," he noted.