27 Sep 2020
We aren't enemies, says Sanjay Raut after meeting Devendra Fadnavis
Shiv Sena's firebrand leader Sanjay Raut suggested against reading too much into his meeting with Maharashtra former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, saying both of them have ideological differences but aren't enemies. He added Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was aware of the meeting.
They met at a luxury hotel in Mumbai yesterday, sparking whispers in the political circles.
Here are more details.
Background: The friends turned bitter foes after Maharashtra elections
Sena, forever the ally of BJP, went separate ways after the Maharashtra Assembly elections. The two right-wing parties couldn't agree on pertinent issues of governance.
During the entire crisis, that lasted weeks, Raut was at the forefront, launching attacks at BJP, and also amongst the early ones to suggest the idea of a Sena-led government.
Eventually, Fadnavis lost the CM seat to Thackeray.
In wake of SSR's death, BJP constantly attacked Sena
After the bitter break-up, BJP didn't let go of any opportunity to slam Sena. The attacks became more ferocious in the backdrop of actor Sushant Singh Rajput's demise.
Some BJP loyalists held Thackeray's son Aaditya accountable, claiming he was hand-in-glove with the Bollywood mafia, which is allegedly responsible for the young actor's death.
Sena was also accused of stalling a fair investigation.
Met Fadnavis to discuss certain issues, claimed Raut
Taking into account the current relationship between Sena and BJP, Raut and Fadnavis' meeting was bound to spark conversations. They met at an upscale hotel in Western suburbs.
Saying that he met Fadnavis to discuss certain issues, Raut added, "He the leader of opposition in Maharashtra and Bihar polls-in charge of BJP. There can be ideological differences but we are not enemies. (sic)"
Apparently, Raut wants to interview Fadnavis
Raut had also revealed earlier that the meeting was regarding an interview for Sena's mouthpiece, Saamna.
"When I had interviewed NCP Chief Sharad Pawar, I had said that I will also interview (Congress leader) Rahul Gandhi, (Home Minister) Amit Shah and Devendra Fadnavis," Raut, the publication's executive editor, said.
BJP also said similar things, claiming that there was nothing political about the meeting.
Interview will happen after Fadnavis returns from Bihar: BJP
"Since Fadnavis wanted the whole interview to be published unedited, it was decided to meet before to decide on the modalities. The interview will take place after Fadnavis returns from Bihar campaigning," BJP leader Pravin Darekar was quoted by HT.
Does Raut's meeting have a hidden message for Congress, NCP?
However, political observers believe the meeting couldn't have been just about the interview.
"No one will just meet to discuss an interview. This seems more of a message by the Shiv Sena to its allies, the Congress and the NCP, that it still has good relations with the BJP," political commentator Hemant Desai told the daily.
So are BJP-Sena letting bygones be bygones?