Ud­dhav won’t at­tend Modi events

AL­LIANCE TROU­BLE Shiv Sena chief snubs BJP over last-minute in­vites for city func­tions

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Ku­nal Puro­hit ku­nal.puro­hit@hin­dus­tan­times.com

MUM­BAI: In a sign of the ris­ing hos­til­i­ties be­tween al­liance part­ners, an an­gry Shiv Sena chief Ud­dhav Thack­eray sought to make a po­lit­i­cal state­ment on Satur­day by snub­bing a last-minute in­vi­ta­tion by the Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) to at­tend twin ground- lay­ing func­tions in Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s pres­ence on Sun­day.

In­di­cat­ing the ice- cold re­la­tions that he shares with Modi, Thack­eray de­cided to go ahead with his tour of the drought-hit Beed dis­trict and dis­trib­ute aid to farm­ers. The BJP, which had till Satur­day re­fused to of­fi­cially in­vite Thack­eray to the func­tions, per­formed a U-turn and dis­patched state hous­ing min­is­ter Prakash Me­hta to in­vite Thack­eray on Satur­day evening.

For Thack­eray, how­ever, the in­vite came too late. While he main­tained si­lence on the is­sue, a close aide said, “They ( BJP) think they can ex­tend a last-minute in­vi­ta­tion and our party chief will be bul­lied into at­tend­ing the event? The Sena doesn’t care much about such in­vi­ta­tions and the BJP must know that.”

Sena min­is­ter Ram­das Kadam also said the in­vi­ta­tion came too late. “Thack­eray had al­ready planned to go to Beed and dis­trib­ute fi­nan­cial re­lief among farm­ers. This is a very im­por­tant cause for the party and we can’t go back on it,” he said.

BJP state chief Raosa­heb Danve on Satur­day made it clear just how much im­por­tance the party gave to the Sena. Danve said that he and chief min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis had per­son­ally tele­phoned and in­vited smaller al­lies such as Ram­das Athavale, Ma­hadeo Jankar and Raju Shetti.

CON­TIN­UED ON P6

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