“Eknath Shinde Told Me…”: Raj Thackeray On Why He Met Amit Shah

The alliance is yet to finalise seat-sharing for the state, which has 48 Lok Sabha seats.


Struggling to work out a seat-sharing agreement in the crucial state of Maharashtra despite the Lok Sabha polls being 10 days away, the NDA has got a boost with Raj Thackeray throwing his weight “unconditionally” behind the alliance. 

Raj Thackeray’s announcement was welcomed by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. 

Addressing workers from his party, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, on Gudi Padwa – the Maharashtrian New Year – on Tuesday, Mr Thackeray also spoke about his meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah last month and claimed he was the first person in the country who said Narendra Modi should be Prime Minister. 

Pointing out that India has one of the youngest populations in the world, Mr Thackeray said they will need proper education and employment and that “anarchy would spread in the country” if that did not happen. Claiming that this Lok Sabha election is going to decide the future of the country, the MNS chief said Narendra Modi is the best person to lead India at this critical juncture.

For that reason, Mr Thackeray said, he had unconditionally decided to support the alliance of the BJP, the faction of the Shiv Sena led by Eknath Shinde – who had staged a rebellion against the MNS chief’s estranged cousin Uddhav Thackeray in 2022 – and the Ajit Pawar faction of the NCP. 

“I don’t have any expectations. When there is a need for a strong leadership in the country, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena will back the BJP, Shiv Sena and the NCP unconditionally. It is only for Narendra Modi,” Mr Thackeray said. 

While it is not clear whether the MNS will field any candidates for the Lok Sabha polls, Mr Thackeray asked his cadre to prepare for the Assembly elections later this year, indicating that he is hoping for support and a share of seats when they happen.

‘What Was Wrong?’

Speaking about his meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah, the 55-year-old said, “What was wrong in me going and meeting the home minister? The chief minister of the state told me we should come together. Devendra Fadnavis also spoke (about this). That’s why I met Amit Shah.”

Claiming that he was the first person in the country to say Narendra Modi should be the Prime Minister, Mr Thackeray said he had also opposed him when needed.

“After 2014, I felt that what I heard in the speeches (by Narendra Modi) was not materialising. I opposed him, but whenever he did anything good, like (abrogating) Article 370, I welcomed it. I also organised a rally in favour of the National Register of Citizens,” Mr Thackeray said. 

In a jibe at his estranged cousin Uddhav Thackeray and Shiv Sena leader (UBT) and MP Sanjay Raut, Mr Thackeray said, “I did not criticise because I was not offered the chief minister’s post. They (Uddhav Thackeray and Mr Raut) are speaking against him (PM Modi) now. When I was saying this (in 2019), why didn’t you resign? Why are you doing it now because you were removed from power and your party was broken?” 

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde thanked Mr Thackeray for his support. “I welcome him wholeheartedly. PM Modi has supported the Mahayuti (as the alliance is called in Maharashtra). PM Modi has done development in the country and has taken the country forward,” Mr Shinde was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. 

Mr Fadnavis posted in Marathi on X: “Warm welcome! Believing in the able leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to realize the dream of a developed India, for building a strong Maharashtra, I am very grateful to MNS chief Shri Raj Thackeray ji for supporting the alliance of BJP, Shiv Sena and NCP. Let us all be determined to fulfil the hopes and aspirations of the people!”

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