Uddhav Thackeray to skip PM Modi’s events in Mumbai tomorrow

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will not be attending Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s functions in Mumbai on Sunday as he will be away in Marathwada to review the drought situation there.

Modi will be in the city to lay the foundation stone for Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s memorial at Indu Mills in Dadar and to conduct ‘bhoomi pujan’ for two new Metro lines at Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), where he will also address a rally.

“Uddhavji will be in Beed district tomorrow as per a ‘pre decided’ programme, to review drought situation there,” his media adviser Harshal Pradhan told PTI this evening. Pradhan’s comments came shortly after Maharashtra BJP president Raosaheb Danve told reporters that his party deputed senior Minister Prakash Mehta to visit Uddhav Thackeray’s residence ‘Matoshree’ in Bandra today and personally hand over the invitation for tomorrow’s events.

“Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and myself spoke to leaders of our other alliance partners and invited them for tomorrow’s events,” Danve said. “For us, farmers in distress are equally important, and so Uddhavji has to visit the Marathwada as planned earlier,” senior Sena minister Ramdas Kadam said.

The Ambedkar memorial issue is politically significant as the ruling alliance wants to show Dalits that their government is doing what the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) government failed to do. The memorial as well as the two new Metro lines assume significance with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections scheduled for 2017.

Meanwhile, leader of opposition in Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde told reporters in Pune district today that the state government had displayed a ‘parochial mindset’ by not inviting NCP chief Sharad Pawar and former deputy CM Ajit Pawar for the Ambedkar memorial event.