For News on BJP-Sena Reunion, All Eyes on PM Modi’s High Tea

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tea party for allies on Sunday may not feature a grand reunion between the ruling BJP and the Shiv Sena even though the former allies are taking tentative steps towards reviving their partnership to take power in Maharashtra.

For News on BJP-Sena Reunion, All Eyes on PM Modi’s High Tea

For News on BJP-Sena Reunion, All Eyes on PM Modi's High Tea

The high tea is being keenly watched for its guest list and the possible impact on Maharashtra. Invitations have been sent out to all MPs of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, including the Sena, but it is not known whether its chief Uddhav Thackeray – who is not a lawmaker – will attend it.

Sources say Mr Thackeray is not likely to be present and Anand Geete, the only Shiv Sena minister in the central government, will lead the party delegation.

The BJP ended its 25-year partnership with the Sena last month, just before the Maharashtra polls, after intense bickering over seat-sharing. The two remain allies at the central level.

The BJP won the most number of seats in the polls but needs 22 more for a majority. The Sena would have been a natural choice to fill the gap, but Sharad Pawar’s NCP has complicated matters by offering unconditional support to the BJP. The BJP has not rejected that offer and its leaders have said the Sena must accept that it is not in a position to bargain.

The BJP appears to have resolved its other problem in Maharashtra; a possible row over the chief minister’s post between two of its most prominent state leaders – union minister Nitin Gadkari and state party chief Devendra Fadnavis – has been resolved with a “Diwali Milan” between the two. Mr Gadkari on Thursday repeated that he is not in the race for chief minister and does not want to return to state politics.

BJP sources say before naming its chief minister, the party wants to settle the alliance question.

Days after the election results, the former allies reopened negotiations on Tuesday night. Sena leaders Subhash and Anil Desai came to Delhi and reportedly met BJP leaders before flying back to Mumbai the next morning to report back to Uddhav Thackeray.