Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde met former Chief Minister and senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi at the latter’s residence on Thursday. The meeting is stated to be an effort of Shinde to garner maximum support of Shiv Sena leaders.
Shinde defected from Shiv Sena led by the party chief and former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, with almost two-thirds of Shiv Sena legislators supporting him. He formed the government with Bharatiya Janata Party. Although his meeting with Joshi is stated to be a courtesy meeting, speculations in political circles have started about Shinde’s efforts to seek claim over the party’s leadership.
Shinde informed the media that he is an ardent follower of the founder of the party Balasaheb Thackeray and wanted to meet senior leaders who worked with him. The meeting was to have blessings of the senior leaders.
Shinde also denied any political move behind the meeting.
Shinde faction defected from Shiv Sena under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray and formed another group. Shinde has claimed that his group is actually Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. The legislators supporting Shinde revolted against the leadership of Thackeray, who resigned as Chief Minister of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) formed with Nationalist Congress Party and Indian National Congress. Shinde was against formation of the government with the two parties against which the party (Shiv Sena) raised voice for more than two decades. Shiv Sena contested the Assembly elections as an alliance of BJP and later formed a government with Congress and NCP.
Shinde wanted Thackeray to shake hands with BJP again, which he stated as natural alliance for the cause of HIndutva.