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'Thackeray-Pawar meet won't unsettle the Sena-BJP alliance'
December 26, 2007 22:34 IST
With NCP president Sharad Pawar's [Images] meeting with Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray triggering speculation about a possible realignment of forces in Maharashtra, the BJP has that said the event will not disturb its existing alliance with the Sena nor would the tie-up expand to include a third party.
BJP general secretary Gopinath Munde said the two-decade alliance between Shiv Sena and BJP in Maharashtra would remain intact to fight the next Assembly elections.
"I do not think there will be a third party to join the saffron alliance. If at all somebody wants to join the alliance, that party has to accept the Hindutva ideology to which the saffron partners are wedded," he said.
Munde said Pawar's initiative to meet Thackeray stemmed from his conviction that the state's ruling Congress-led UPA of which NCP is a part was certain to lose power in the next elections.
He said the meeting between Pawar and Thackeray would not disturb the present alliance between the BJP and the Sena in Maharashtra and Pawar's moves tend to become unpredictable whenever elections draw near.
If Pawar accepts Hindutva, he is welcome to join our alliance so that we can have one more party to strengthen NDA, Munde said.
Asked whether Pawar still harboured prime ministerial ambitions, Munde said no politician ever gives up his ambition.
He, however, said it would be a far cry to expect Pawar to muster sufficient numbers in the Lok Sabha where Shiv Sena and NCP have strength of 13 and 9 respectively.
Replying to questions, the BJP leader said there was no sense of insecurity among the second-rank leadership of his party following Narendra Modi's [Images] victory in Gujarat.
"We have declared L K Advani as our prime ministerial candidate and all are with Advani who enjoys the support of Atal Bihari Vajpayee," he said.
Munde also denied a suggestion that Vajpayee had not wholeheartedly congratulated Modi for his electoral triumph.