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Besides Uddhav Thackeray, Amit Shah’s Mumbai trip includes meets with Madhuri Dixit, Ratan Tata and Lata Mangeshkar

Reaching out to its partners in the National Democratic Alliance ahead of the 2019 general elections, Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah will meet Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai on Wednesday

As part of BJP’s ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ campaign, he met actor Madhuri Dixit at 12.30 pm and businessman Ratan Tata at his Colaba home at 4.30 pm. He will next meet singer Lata Mangeshkar at her Peddar Road home and finally, Thackeray at 7.30 pm.

Shah’s meeting with Dixit, during which her husband Sriram Nene was also present, lasted around 40 minutes. He presented her with a booklet containing the achievements of the BJP-led central government in the last four years.

On the day Shah is slated to meet the Shiv Sena chief, the party made a jibe at its “comprehensive contact campaign”. In an op-ed titled ‘Come, let’s play contact‘ in its mouthpiece Saamana, the Shiv Sena on Wednesday said it would contest the 2019 Assembly elections in Maharashtra independently, and the 2019 general elections can be one of the reasons for Shah’s “contact campaign”.

File image of BJP President Amit Shah. Twitter/@AmitShah

Shah’s meetings are being seen as an attempt by the BJP to reach out to allies who have either been criticising or expressing their dissent with the party and also to strengthen the NDA ahead of the Lok Sabha polls next year.

The BJP launched the ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ public drive on the Narendra Modi government’s fourth anniversary on May 26. It had announced that 4,000 functionaries of the party will contact one lakh eminent personalities popular in their fields to spread awareness about the work the government had done in the past four years. Shah himself will meet 50 people as part of the campaign, the party had said. The BJP chief is also scheduled to meet sporting legend Milkha Singh on Thursday in Chandigarh, according to sources.

Sources also said Shah will meet Nitish Kumar and Mehbooba Mufti, the chief ministers of Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir. The meetings with Kumar and Mufti, who are also the presidents of their parties — the Janata Dal (United) and the Peoples Democratic Party — are being planned to strengthen the relations with these allies, sources said. On 3 June, Shah had met Lok Janshakti Party chief and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who had raised the issue of granting Bihar special status.

The BJP chief has also met former cricketer Kapil Dev, former chief justice of India RC Lahoti and yoga guru Ramdev as part of the campaign. Shah had earlier said that the campaign was aimed at informing people about the government initiatives that have improved people’s standard of living.

The BJP president will meet Shiromani Akali Dal supremo Parkash Singh Badal in Chandigarh on Thursday.

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