The morning after the late-evening rendezvous of two Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Chief Ministers -- Arvind Kejriwal of Delhi and Bhagwant Mann of Punjab -- with the former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena (UBT) President Uddhav Thackeray, may at best be a "meeting of minds", with no poll tie-ups on the menu yet.
Both Kejriwal and Thackeray said they were keen on meeting each other personally for a long time and Mann harped on the century-old connections between Maharashtra and Punjab.
Kejriwal heaped praises on Thackeray for the good work done during the Covid-19 pandemic in Maharashtra and how they learnt a lot to replicate it in Delhi.
"Last night's meeting was intended to evolve a common platform for all parties willing to take the country aforward' since the demon called Bharatiya Janata Party is dragging the nation abackward' and deviating from the real issues confronting the people," AAP Mumbai Working President Dwijendra Tiwari said on Saturday.
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Interestingly, the conclave took place on the eve of the AAP State Executive meeting currently being held in Mumbai to discuss various issues including the upcoming civic elections.
For AAP, the situation is awkward since it is fighting on multiple fronts in Maharashtra -- the Opposition Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Shiv Sena (UBT) and the ruling alliance of Shiv Sena of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-Bharatiya Janata Party -- as it tries to carve its own niche in the state.
Dwijendra Tiwari echoed Kejriwal's sentiments saying several issues like huge unemployment, spiralling inflation, crony capitalism and others need to be tackled through a common forum and the AAP was ready to cooperate with any party on this count.
"There is only one party that thinks of elections 24x7, but we don't do that. We first think about the countrya. When the polls are announced, we shall discuss elections as well," Kejriwal said in his reply to queries on an electoral tie-up with the Sena (UBT) for the upcoming civic polls.
Sena (UBT)'s national spokesperson Kishore Tiwari said that the first meeting of Thackeray-Kejriwal-Mann will send very positive signals and goad the AAP state leadership to think of "ground realities" in Maharashtra.
"Similar to Thackeray, Kejriwal is raising very vital issues of national importancea there are apprehensions among non-BJP ruled states that the BJP would attempt to dislodge other CM's as they did in Maharashtra. This must be countered unitedly with all regional parties presenting a common front against the BJP," Kishore Tiwari urged.
He pointed out how the "BJP's toolkit" has worked against Kejriwal, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and the harassment of Chief Ministers in other state like Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.
"It's time for all of them to stop working against each other's interests, don't trespass on their territorial strengths, take all parties together in a mature manner and work to defeat the common aevil' called BJP," Kishore Tiwari said.
Kejriwal noted how Thackeray's party was "stolen" including the original 'Shiv Sena' name and 'Bow-and-Arrow' symbol -- a week after the Election Commission of India allotted the name-symbol to the breakaway faction headed by Shinde.
"I would say that his father was a tiger, he (Uddhav) is the son of the tiger and whole of Maharashtra is with him. We hope he gets justice. I feel he is going to sweep all upcoming elections," Kejriwal declared besides the beaming Thackeray and his son Aditya.
Mann highlighted how the relations between Maharashtra-Punjab go back to the freedom struggles martyrs like Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev Thapar who were from Punjab while the third associate Shivram Hari Rajguru was from Maharashtra.
"We have secured this freedom after making many sacrifices. Its our duty to safeguard it and we must not lose it," said Mann.
Dwijendra Tiwari feels that once all the parties are on the "same wavelength", other things like elections and alliances would be a natural outcome, and last night's meeting was a major step in this direction.
Soon after the ECI verdict, Thackeray said he had got calls from various Chief Ministers in the country.
Earlier, Banerjee had visited Mumbai in November 2021 to meet Thackeray followed by KCR in Februaru 2022, and now Kejriwal-Mann.