Akali Dal severs ties with BJP-led NDA over Farm Bills; Speculations rife after Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut has closed door meeting with BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis inside Mumbai hotel

In a significant development on Saturday, the Shiromani Akali Dal decided to pull out of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance over the Farm Bills. The same day Sanjay Raut of the Shiv Sena was seen holding a closed-door meeting for nearly two hours with BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis inside a five-star hotel in Mumbai.

Announcing the decision to sever ties with the NDA, Akali Dal’s Sukhbir Badal said, “Shiromani Akali Dal core committee decides unanimously to pull out of the BJP-led #NDA because of the Centre’s stubborn refusal to give statutory legislative guarantees to protect assured marketing of crops on #MSP and its continued insensitivity to Punjabi and #Sikh issues.”

Sukhbir Badal’s wife and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal had resigned from the Centre’s Narendra Modi government on 17 September in protest against what she said were anti-farmer ordinances and legislation.

Meanwhile, BJP leader Fadnavis was seen holding a closed-door meeting with Raut. This has now triggered speculations over a new political alignment both in Maharashtra and at the Centre. Raut’s party, the Shiv Sena, had fought the last assembly elections with the BJP in Maharashtra, but the two former alliance partners later fell out spectacularly prompting the Shiv Sena to form the government with the help of the Congress and the NCP.

However, Raut later shared a tweet by a journalist quoting him as saying that his meeting with Fadnavis was only for a possible interview for the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana,  adding that there was nothing secretive about his meeting with the former Maharashtra chief minister.

Meanwhile, Twitterati have been reacting to the news of Raut holding a closed-door meeting with Fadnavis.

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