Uddhav rules out truce with cousin Raj

Mumbai, May 28 (IANS) Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray Tuesday virtually slammed the door on efforts by his allies to attempt a patch-up with his estranged cousin Raj Thackeray, chief of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

Thackeray said the existing grand alliance of Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Republican Party of India (RPI) was working well and that there was no need to include a fourth constituent.

In a sharp editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamna, Thackeray slammed recent moves by former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari and RPI chief Ramdas Athawale for a patch-up with the MNS chief. He said it would be better if the two parties first set their own homes in order before bothering about the unity between Thackeray cousins.

Last week, Gadkari had declared in Pune that he and the BJP would not rest till they brought the two warring Thackeray cousins together and convinced the MNS to join the Sena-BJP-RPI grand alliance.

Similarly, RPI chief Ramdas Athawale unilaterally initiated moves to unite Uddhav and Raj and even offered to go to Raj's house to resolve the issues between them. The MNS has emerged as a force to reckon with in the next year's Lok Sabha and assembly elections.

However, so far the MNS has maintained a strategic silence on the moves made by the BJP and RPI.

Hitting out at the unsolicited overtures, Uddhav Thackeray said it would be better for the BJP if its own warring leaders like Gadkari first patched up with Gopinath Munde and Vinod Tawde, while Narendra Modi made up with L.K. Advani - both prime minister hopefuls.

He also hit out at BJP leaders in New Delhi, who he said had "closed" their doors and were warily peeping at Narendra Modi from the windows. They should, the Shiv Sena chief added, first open their doors before speaking of the Shiv Sena throwing open the doors to accept the MNS.

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