Poonam Mahajan meets Raj Thackeray, denies rift with BJP

Mumbai, March 27: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) youth wing leader Poonam Mahajan-Rao, daughter of late Pramod Mahajan, Friday met Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, then said there was ‘nothing political’ about the meeting.

After the meeting, Poonam denied rumours that she was quitting the BJP and joining the MNS.

‘I continue to remain in the BJP,’ she said.

Mahajan was hopeful of securing the BJP ticket from Mumbai North-East constituency in the ensuring Lok Sabha polls but the nomination was given to Kirit Somaiya.

BJP also toyed with the idea of fielding Poonam from the Mumbai South seat to counter young Congress MP Milind Deora but the constituency was conceded to the Shiv Sena under the seat sharing agreement between the two parties, effectively stalling her chances of a party nomination.

Her uncle and senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde had expressed his displeasure after she was denied a party nomination for the elections.

MNS vice president V. Saraswat described Poonam’s visit as a ‘courtesy call’ on the occasion of Gudi Padwa.

Saraswat said that Raj Thackeray and the Mahajan-Munde family have enjoyed very close relations for nearly two decades.

‘Poonam’s uncle Prakash Mahajan is the MNS general secretary so the family is not new to MNS,’ he said.

‘Moreover, there are still two weeks to decide party candidates for the Lok Sabha elections,’ he added enigmatically.