NewZNew (New Delhi) : Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host journalists over tea today in the national capital in what will be his first formal outreach to the media. The ‘Deepawali Milan’, as the event is being called, will take place around 11 am at 9, Ashoka Road, adjoining the BJP headquarters. Nearly 400 invites have been sent out for the event which will also see BJP president Amit Shah and senior party leaders in attendance.
The function comes just a day ahead of the Prime Minister’s tea party for allies, an event much talked about for a possible 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. Invitations have been sent out to all MPs of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), including the Sena, but it is not known whether its chief Uddhav Thackeray – who is not a lawmaker – will attend.
Sources say Mr Thackeray is not likely to be present and Anant Geete, the only 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.