Communication gap ruined things for friends Uddhav Thackeray and Devendra Fadnavis – mumbai news

While they accused each other of lying over the Sena’s contention that the BJP had promised to share chief ministership, both chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Friday made it a point to mention that the duo shared cordial relations on personal level, which was why the BJP-Sena alliance government ran smoothly for its entire tenure.

In fact, the direct communication between the duo was the reason why both the leaders managed to sort out various issues during the past five years, even as the two sides witnessed a bitter tussle on several occasions. That factor also played a role as Thackeray chose to reunite with the BJP ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, even though he had announced in 2018 that the Sena would contest all elections in the future on its own.

However, this communication line was almost broken after October 24, when the election results were declared. This was seen as a major reason why the relations between the two parties have turned sour. On Friday, the two allies were on the brink of separation.

“We knew that Thackeray was negotiating with the NCP. Initially, we thought it was a pressure tactic to extract his pound of flesh, but later it became clear he was keen on chief ministership. His set of advisors, including political strategist Prashant Kishor, advised him to insist on chief ministership,”said a top BJP functionary. “As such, convincing him to settle for anything less than that was not entirely possible. However, had there been a continuous communication between Fadnavis and him, we could have handled the situation. He did have faith in Fadnavis,” he said.

“I shared good relations with Uddhav Thackeray in the past five years. I consider him a friend. I called him (after the results), but he did not take my calls,” Fadnavis lamented on Friday.

Since 2014, when the Sena participated in the government after opting for opposition benches, Fadnavis and Thackeray were always talking directly to sort out any issues arising between the two parties. Taking a cue from the late Pramod Mahajan and Gopinath Munde who shared excellent relations with the mercurial Sena founder Bal Thackeray, Fadnavis, too, maintained direct contact with Uddhav Thackeray, instead of communicating through any intermediaries. However, this communication was stopped by Thackeray after October 29, when Fadnavis denied to the media that the BJP had promised to share chief ministership in the state.

According to his close aides, Thackeray saw this as Fadnavis publicly calling him a liar. “I stopped communicating because they termed me a liar,” Thackeray said on Friday. “I was hurt by his remarks that no such formula was decided,” he rued.

Following the verdict on October 24, the two sides were discussing a power-sharing formula through certain persons. There were offers and counter-offers over sharing ministerial berths equally and giving key portfolios to the Sena. Following Fadnavis’s statement, Thackeray insisted the BJP has to publicly acknowledge what was promised and give the same to the Sena. By that, he meant sharing the chief minister’s post for 2.5 years each. And while he was sulking, the BJP’s central leadership made it clear that it would not mollycoddle the Sena leadership. The stand taken by both sides led to a deadlock and the outcome was visible on Friday. Most BJP-Sena leaders now think that coming together after this public tiff is difficult for both the sides.

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