The Shiv Sena was today left red-faced after party leader and Union minister Anant Geete joined his BJP colleagues who observed a day-long fast in Delhi in protest against the washout of the recent Budget session of Parliament by opposition parties.
Participation of Geete, the only Sena minister in the Centre, in the protest comes on a day the Sena in party mouthpiece "Saamana" attacked the BJP-led Central government over "unabated" spate of suicides by farmers, and what it called "competing hunger strikes" by the Congress and the BJP.
Alarmed by the presence of Geete, who handles Heavy Industries portfolio, Sena leaders called up party president Uddhav Thackeray who is currently abroad, sources said.
According to sources, Geete exited the venue after receiving a call from the Sena chief.
However, before leaving the place, Geete had shared dais with BJP ministers Vijay Goel, Suresh Prabhu, and others.
When asked about his presence at the venue, Geete clarified that he went there in his capacity as a Union minister.
The Sena, a recalcitrant ally of the BJP in the state and the Central governments, has been trying to build a narrative against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP over a host of issues, including suicides by farmers.
While BJP chief Amit Shah and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis appeared to have tried to coax Sena to not break the alliance for the 2019 polls, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party seemed to have rebuffed the rapprochement bid.
Recently, Fadnavis told Sena leader Sanjay Raut in an interview that the Sena's adamant stand on seat-sharing had ruptured the ties between both the parties ahead of 2014 state assembly polls.
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