Against the backdrop of some strains between the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the general elections, Sena supremo Bal Thackeray today refused to meet the saffron party's prime ministerial candidate L K Advani who was in Mumbai in connection with a party function.
The Sena suggested that a meeting between the two leaders cannot be fixed at short notice amid reports that Advani had expressed a desire to meet Thackeray. "We received intimation from BJP in the afternoon that Advani, who was in the city to attend a function planned days earlier wanted to meet Thackeray," Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe claimed.
Relations between BJP and Shiv Sena, its oldest alliance partner in the NDA, have come under some strain in the recent weeks in the wake of talk of an Nationalist Congress Party-Sena alliance.
Advani was in Mumbai to attend a function where he was given Rs 11 crore for the election fund by the city BJP unit.
"The BJP leaders must have spent days collecting Rs 11 crore. Couldn't they have intimated us earlier instead of contacting at the last moment?" Gorhe asked.
"They should have been aware of the fact that Thackeray's daily routine is fixed and cannot be changed at the last moment," Gorhe told PTI.
BJP state unit spokesperson Madhav Bhandari however denied that his party had sought Thackeray's appointment. "All
such reports are baseless," he said.