‘No love lost for BJP’, says Uddhav Thackeray on lift ride with Devendra Fadnavis

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MUMBAI – Shiv Sena (UBT) president and ex-Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday categorically declared that his ‘lift-ride’ with MahaYuti ally and Bharatiya Janata Party’s Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis was a “sheer coincidence” and nothing more.

Reacting to the wildfire political speculation and flutter in Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) circles, Thackeray cited a popular Bollywood song from the film ‘Jab Jab Phool Khile’ (1965), and said: “… ‘na, na karte pyar tumhi se kar baithe’…nothing like that is going to happen with the BJP… you can rest assured.”

On political suspicions about why the ‘elevator meeting’ and what transpired in the closed metal box with several BJP leaders around him, Thackeray jocularly shot back: “It is said that walls have ears… so henceforth, any secret conversations must be held only in lifts!”

About BJP Minister Chandrakant Patil – who ‘dropped’ in for a surprise meeting at the SS (UBT) office in the legislature building — when journalists questioned as to who winked at whom — Thackeray dismissed the query with a retort: “… from tomorrow, I shall sport goggles.”

The Parliamentary Affairs and Higher Education Minister Patil presented a large packet of milk chocolate to Thackeray, while Leader of the Opposition (Council) Ambadas Danve whipped out a box of ‘pedas’ (milk-sweetmeat) and offered it to the visitor, saying “this is for our victory in the Lok Sabha elections” amid much laughter and bonhomie.

Later, Thackeray took potshots at Patil saying that, like the free higher education for girls, the BJP Minister (Patil) should stop doling out ‘free chocolates’ as the people of the state are tired of the MahaYuti government.

Describing the ongoing legislature sitting as “the farewell session of the MahaYuti government”, Thackeray trained guns on Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and recalled how the ‘illegal regime had promised that there would no more farmers’ suicides in the state.

“The farmers’ suicides have not ended, but the CM is practicing 5-star style farming… is there any other farmer in the country who flies in a helicopter to till his land?” asked Thackeray in a potshot at Shinde.

The ex-CM reiterated the opposition MVA’s demands for a full loan waiver to the farmers in the state before the (October) Assembly elections, plus taking steps to tackle the drought-like situation with the monsoon playing truant, besides provision of food, water, and fodder to the tillers. -IANS

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