NEW DELHI: With the opposition joining forces ahead of the 2019 general elections, BJP chief Amit Shah sets out to reconcile differences in the NDA alliance.
According to sources, Shah will be meeting Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday and a closed-door meeting with the leader of BJP’s oldest ally, Shiromani Akali Dal, has been scheduled for Thursday.
Shah had discussed the emerging political challenges and the scale of Opposition unity with party general secretaries over the weekend. The BJP seeks to address the issues of special category status which had been brought up by the Bihar NDA.
Meanwhile, Bihar BJP chief Nityanand Rai has called a meeting of the NDA allies on Thursday evening, which will be attended by chief minister Nitish Kumar, Lok Jan Shakti Party supremo Ram Vilas Paswan and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party chief Upendra Kushwaha. BJP national general secretary Bhupendra Yadav and Shah may also attend the meeting, sources said.
According to political observers, the outreach mission is to be seen in the context of the saffron party’s debacle in the recent bypolls and NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s attempt to form a pre-poll tie-up with NDA ally Thackeray in Maharashtra for the 2019 elections.
Handling Shiv Sena will be a priority for Shah as the fault lines in the fragile BJP-Sena alliance were clearly visible after the Palghar Lok Sabha bypoll verdict. Even though Sena leader Sanjay Rout had said the party would go solo in the 2019 elections, the BJP is keen to bring the restive NDA ally on board for seat-adjustment. Although the Sena had been criticising the BJP since Maharashtra Assembly elections, it hasn’t yet taken any definitive step to move out of the alliance.
Shah is also learnt to have told UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, in a meeting on Monday, to address concerns of NDA allies in the state. Shah is gearing the BJP-led NDA to prepare for a “Modi versus all” 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which has made the need for an alliance more pronounced.
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