"Duty bound to work for Maharashtra," says Suresh Prabhu after sharing stage with Shiv Sena leader
For union minister Suresh Prabhu and Shiv Sena lawmaker and Maharashtra minister Subhash Desai it is 'Marathi manoos' first. Allies BJP and the Shiv Sena may be trading barbs in the run up to the 2019 parliamentary polls, Mr Prabhu and Mr Desai, coming from the same state, seem to have buried the hatchet at the annual flagship event of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Mumbai on Saturday.
At the CII's Partnership Summit, which is being jointly organised by the commerce ministries of the state and the Centre, the two ministers echoed similar sentiments – "the development of Maharashtra supersedes all other issues."
"The common ground is to develop the state of Maharashtra and create more opportunities. On this point we always work together. Both of us are duty bound to do this as we are from Maharashtra," said Mr Prabhu.
Sharing similar thoughts, Mr Desai said, "The two parties (BJP and Shiv Sena) have differences on certain issues but on this issue – the progress of the state – we have a common goal…and we will continue to work together."
The comments assume significance following senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut's apparent outburst, saying no one can give his party an ultimatum, when asked about the BJP setting a deadline for the Sena to make up its mind about the alliance before the Lok Sabha elections.
In the opposition camp, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have already announced an agreement on seat sharing in Maharashtra for the Lok Sabha elections.
Political observers believe that Mr Prabhu and Mr Desai's comments could indicate that eventually the BJP and the Shiv Sena may come together even after the latter's announcement last year that the party will go it alone in the 2019 elections.