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No plans to join hands with Raj Thackeray: Devendra Fadnavis

BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis has said that his party has no plans to "join hands" with Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray.

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today denied he met Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray earlier this week, amid reports of a tie-up between the MNS and the BJP in Maharashtra. Mr Fadnavis said there is no plan for an alliance right now, but did not rule it out in the future.

“I did not meet MNS chief Raj Thackeray and there is no plan to join hands with him as of now,” news agency PTI quoted Mr Fadnavis as saying.

Devendra Fadnavis, the Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly, said the BJP and the MNS did not have any ideological affinity, PTI reported.

“They follow an ideology which is different from ours. If they consider expanding their outlook towards various issues, we may join them,” the former chief minister said.

“The BJP, as a national party, is in favour of working with various (regional) organisations. We will think about them in the future,” he added.

On Tuesday, reports suggested that Raj Thackeray opened talks with the BJP after its break-up with the Shiv Sena of his estranged cousin Uddhav Thackeray, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

Raj Thackeray, just last year before the national election, had gone all guns blazing against the BJP. Raj Thackeray’s campaign targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah through rallies where the MNS chief used multi-media presentations to make his point.

Sources say Raj Thackeray reviewed his options after his party won only one seat in the October state polls; it had contested more than 100. In the previous election in 2014, it had won 13 seats. Over the past five years, the MNS has seen its political space shrinking rapidly from election to election.

Raj Thackeray, say sources, is looking to fill the pro-Hindu ideological space he believes has been ceded by the Shiv Sena after its separation from the BJP.

A former supporter of PM Modi, Raj Thackeray, 51, distanced himself after the BJP came to power in 2014.

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