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Malvan debacle fuels Raj-Uddhav spat

November 26, 2005 19:06 IST

With struggle for power gripping Shiv Sena, senior party leader Manohar Joshi on Saturday said that party supremo Bal Thackarey should address the issues raised by Raj Thackarey, in the wake of the Malvan debacle.

Raj, who is not on the best of terms with his cousin Uddhav, shot off a letter to the party supremo on Friday reportedly seeking to know whether anyone was taking responsibility for the defeats being suffered by the party over the last few years.  Uddhav was made party's executive chief by Thackarey over two years ago.

Describing Raj as a very matured leader who understood what was good for the party, Joshi said Thackeray could sit and talk to his nephew.

"I don't think this issue can cause some major tussle in the party," he said, adding, "I have talked to both Udhav and Raj. I have already talked to Balasaheb. Raj has some expectations and they can be considered... I don't think this issue can cause some major tussle in the party."

Joshi had on an earlier occasion brought about re-approachment between the two cousins.

Reports said Raj had complained to the Sena chief about he and his supporters being ignored - an indirect reference to Thackarey senior preferring Uddhav.

The Sena leader reportedly wanted the supremo to immediately make changes in the organisation if he wanted to save the party.

Party sources said a settlement was necessary in the wake of the strongly-worded letter addressed to the Sena supremo, in which he is understood to have expressed strong displeasure at the party state of affairs under the leadership of cousin Uddhav.

Raj's letter has come at a time when the supremo was planning an overhaul of the party organisation in the wake of the debacle in Malvan as well as Mumbai North West. Party sources said the leader had left for Shirdi.

Almost all party leaders are cautious while commenting on the issue though most of them admit informally that relations between the two Thackeray cousins have worsened.

Meanwhile, the Congress party has said that it is ready to accept Raj in the party-fold provided he gives up the Sena ideology and accepts the leadership of party President Sonia Gandhi.

"We are keeping doors open for Raj. It is now upto him to state whether he wishes to join Congress and what are his expectations," MPCC Spokesman Sanjay Nirupam told reporters in Mumbai.

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