Uddhav Thackeray hints ready for tie-up with Raj

In what is being seen as a big step forward to bury differences with his cousin Raj Thackeray, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has said that he was ready to welcome anyone who "wholeheartedly" wanted to join his party.

In an interview to the Sena's mouthpiece Saamana, Uddhav said, "If someone is planning to come and join the Sena wholeheartedly I will welcome him." At the same time he appeared guarded about a possible alliance, saying it required two to Tango. "The response should be from other side too. You cannot clap with one hand," he said.

He was responding to a specific query from Saamana editor Sanjay Raut who wanted to know what would he do if Raj offered to merge his MNS party, which he floated in 2006, with the Sena.

Uddhav's initiative if translated into reality provided MNS reciprocates with same eagerness has the potential to alter the permutations and combinations in state politics ahead of the 2014 assembly and parliamentary elections. Raj Thackeray said late Wednesday night: "I have read the interview. I will speak on the issue at an appropriate time."

In his interview, Uddhav said the question of rapprochement should be addressed to both parties. "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," he said.

When prodded, he suggested that no one knew what was in Raj's mind about a possible alliance. "This answer should be given by both of us. What if I commit something and he is not agreeable to it," he said.

He said that it was necessary to first understand why the two drifted apart. "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 to achieve this?"

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