Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Chief Raj Thackeray met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi at the latter’s residence in Delhi on Monday. While the Congress has termed the meeting a ‘courtesy call,’ many are linking this meeting to a possible alliance ahead of this year’s assembly polls in Maharashtra.
Thackeray’s meeting with Gandhi at her residence lasted for over 30 minutes.
Thackeray was in Delhi to also meet Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora. According to reports, he told the Election Commission to junk electronic voting machines and return to ballot papers for the assembly polls in Maharashtra since the reliability of EVMs had come under sharp scrutiny.
This was Thackeray’s second meeting with Sonia Gandhi. The last time he came to meet the UPA chairperson was to invite her to attend his son’s wedding in January this year. However, both Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi had skipped the function that was attended by the likes of Ratan Tata, Anand Mahindra, Uddhav Thackeray, NCP leeader Sharad Pawar, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis among others.
Thackeray’s party had not contested this year’s Lok Sabha polls but he had held several rallies across the state exposing the ‘lies’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also actively sought votes for the Congress-NCP alliance. The BJP later swept the polls in the state by winning 41 out of 48 seats. The Congress had to contend with one while the NCP picked up four.
The Congress has always been averse to aligning with Raj Thackeray because of his violent stand against immigrants from north India. But this could change in time to come in light of the Congress’ electoral misfortunes. Sharad Pawar, the Congress ally in Maharashtra, is believed to be open to the idea of an alliance with Raj Thackeray.