Will welcome alliance offer, Uddhav Thackeray to cousin Raj

Thackerays

In signs of a thaw, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray today said he would welcome any offer of an alliance between his party and the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in the interests of the Marathi people.

However, Uddhav pointed out, "One cannot clap with a single hand. Tell me, can you?" He was responding to a query on whether the cousins could come together.

Asked what he would do if estranged cousin Raj approached him with a proposal (for an alliance), Uddhav said, "If someone is going to come wholeheartedly with Sena, I will welcome them."

Uddhav expressed these sentiments in the second part of an interview published in Sena mouthpiece "Saamana" here today.

Raj Thackeray split from the Shiv Sena in 2006 when his uncle late Bal Thackeray made it clear that it would be son Uddhav who would be his successor.

Over the last year, Raj fuelled speculation about a patch-up, visiting his ailing uncle at 'Matoshree', several times. He also visited Uddhav in hospital when the latter underwent first an angiography, and then an angioplasty.

Bal Thackeray passed away on November 17 last year.

On the possibility of uniting with Raj, Uddhav further said, "Why do you ask this question only to me? I am ready to reply. But for that you have to make us (me and Raj) sit together, next to each other. Then you can ask the question to both of us. It depends on both sides."

"More important than coming together, we have to first analyse why we drifted away... If we reunite, then for what purpose? Who is your main political opponent? Who do you want to destroy politically? And what direction should be taken for achieving this ?" he said.

Responding to reports that he was the hurdle and "villain" in the coming together of the two Senas, Uddhav, in a veiled criticism of Raj, said, "How can I be the hurdle, the villian? I always remained loyal to Balasaheb. I never branched out."

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