Mumbai: Amid signs of a rapprochement, all Shiv Sena MPs will attend the high tea being hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on Sunday for NDA MPs even as RPI leader Ramdas Athawale said Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was "very keen" on forming a government with BJP in Maharashtra.
Shiv Sena, however, sought to clear the confusion over Uddhav Thackeray's participation, saying since the event was only for the MPs belonging to the Centre's ruling alliance, their leader will not go.
"I will attend it and so will all Sena MPs," Shiv Sena's lone member in the Narendra Modi government Anant Geete told PTI.
"The event that the PM is hosting is only for the MPs of NDA partners. When Uddhavji is not an MP, where is the question of him being invited? This is not even a question worth asking," a senior Sena leader told PTI on condition of anonymity.
He said it is not as if leaders of other NDA constituents have been invited and Uddhav left out.
"It is not as if (Punjab Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal leader) Parkash Singh Badal has been invited and Uddhavji hasn't. Since (Union Food Minister and Lok Janshakti Party leader) Ram Vilas Paswan is a Member of Parliament, he has been invited for the event. Even our MPs have been invited and they will attend the event," he said. He said Uddhav does not need a dinner invitation to meet Prime Minister Modi.
"If Uddhavji wants to meet PM Modi, he will directly go and meet him alone. Why should he need a dinner invite to meet him?" the Sena leader said. Meanwhile, Athawale said Uddhav is "very keen" on his party forming a coalition government with BJP and that there is "no doubt now" about the alliance being revived.
"Uddhav Thackeray told me that he is very keen on forming the next government in alliance with BJP...Details of how the portfolios will be shared will be revealed after the talks take place in the next two days. But there is no doubt about the alliance between the two parties now. Uddhav is completely ready to support BJP," Athawale told PTI after meeting the Sena chief this afternoon.
RPI is a part of BJP-led alliance in Maharashtra which fought the Assembly election together after BJP called off its alliance with Sena just before the poll. BJP is the single largest party in the 288-member Assembly with 122 seats and its ally Rashtriya Samaj Paksha has won one seat. Shiv Sena has 63 MLAs and coming together of the two parties will obviate the need for BJP to accept NCP's offer of support.
NCP with 41 MLAs has offered to extend "unconditional outside support" to BJP in its bid to form the government. BJP is still to respond to the offer. According to BJP's incharge for Maharashtra Assembly poll, Om Mathur, seven independents and those of smaller parties have already extended support to the party.