Munde-Uddhav trust boosts Sena-BJP alliance

With senior leader Gopinath Munde set to get back the reins of BJP in Maharashtra, relationship of the party with ally Shiv Sena is likely to improve.

The unceremonious exit of Nitin Gadkari from the post of national BJP president has not only altered equations in the organisation but also impacted its alliances.

Munde and Sena president Uddhav Thackeray have had mutual trust, whereas Gadkari has a better equation with MNS chief Raj Thackeray. It is well known that Uddhav and Raj do not see eye to eye.

Munde said Thursday, "I was witness when the Sena-BJP alliance came into being in 1984. Sena is our oldest partner. Our effort will be to consolidate the alliance to defeat the Congress-NCP regime in Maharashtra."

But Gadkari supporters said he would continue to play a significant role in Maharashtra politics.

In fact, devoid of national responsibilty he will get more time to consolidate base in the cotton belt of Vidarbha. He is contesting the Nagpur Lok Sabha seat in 2014.

Top Sena leaders said, "Uddhav and Munde equation is not purely based on elections. It is more personal, which makes a huge difference."

In less than 48 hours of Gadkari exit, the Munde camp has begun to reassert itself.

Munde loyalists could be seen huddled in chambers at the state BJP headquarters at Nariman Point in Mumbai, discussing politics ahead. They are pitching for Munde as state BJP president.

The change of guard at the national level has set the stage for elections in state BJP units across the country. The term of Maharashtra BJP president Sudhir Mungantiwar has ended and the party will have to elect a new president and team by February-end.

Munde, deputy leader in Lok Sabha who is mourning the death of his younger brother Venkatesh in his home town, underplayed differences with Gadkari. He, however, asserted, "I am ready to take the reins of the state and tour every district to wipe out Congress and NCP."

Even his rivals admit Munde can recreate the magic of 1994-95 if he campaigns across Maharashtra.

Gadkari supporters, who have been speaking to the new national president, Rajnath Singh, and state incharge Venkaiah Naidu, said: "They (central leadership) should not overlook merit of candidates while constituting a new team and selecting candidates for parliamentary and state assembly polls."

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