- BJP's rare effort to reach out to aggressively critical alliance partner
- Ties between BJP and Shiv have touched rock-bottom
- They contested recent by-polls in Maharashtra separately
"Amit Shah sought time to meet Uddhav ji. Accordingly, an appointment for tomorrow evening has been given to him," Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told news agency PTI, claiming that the BJP chief was doing this after a gap of four years. The two leaders are, however, meeting after one year. Amit Shah had visited Mr Thackeray in June last year to seek support for the BJP's presidential pick Ram Nath Kovind.
The BJP chief, who will visit Mumbai for a "Sampark for Samarthan" or contact for support programme ahead of the 2019 national election, will meet Mr Thackeray around 6 pm at his home Matoshree.
Ties between the BJP and the Shiv Sena -- co-governing Maharashtra since 2014 -- have touched rock-bottom over the past few years. Amid daily attacks at the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Sena has declared that it will go it alone in next year's national polls.
Recent bypolls in which the two parties contested separately in Maharashtra -- the BJP beat the Sena in the Palghar parliamentary seat -- have worsened a bad relationship, with the Sena describing the BJP as its "biggest political enemy".
Mr Raut had, in a trenchant editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana', said the country was in a state of mind that "can accept the Congress or (Janata Dal Secular's HD) Deve Gowda but not PM Modi and Amit Shah."
Referring to the BJP's setbacks in bypolls -- in Uttar Pradesh, it lost its third parliamentary seat, Kairana, this year -- Mr Raut wrote that "the results indicate the beginning of the BJP's downfall."
The BJP chief met Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan on Sunday as part of this exercise on Sunday. After meeting with the Sena chief, Mr Shah will travel to Chandigarh on Thursday to meet Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Badal.
On the same day, Bihar BJP chief Nityanand Rai has invited allies to a dinner to celebrate four years of the Narendra Modi government. In Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) suffered a defeat in bypolls to the RJD, the party it dumped last year in favour of reviving ties with the BJP.
Telegraphing that it does not believe the BJP can dictate terms anymore, the JDU says Nitish Kumar must be the face of the BJP-led coalition in Bihar for 2019.