Senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal’s son Pankaj Bhujbal on Wednesday met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at his residence.
The meeting comes five days after Chhagan Bhujbal, the former deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, was granted bail by the Bombay High Court in a money laundering case.
Pankaj Bhujbal on Wednesday met Thackeray at the latter’s residence ‘Matoshree’ in suburban Bandra.
“It was just a 15-minute courtesy call by Pankaj Bhujbal. There was no political discussion during the meeting,” a Shiv Sena legislator said.
The leader recalled that Chhagan Bhujbal, despite quitting the Sena in 1991, had made a courtesy call on late party supremo Bal Thackeray in 2007.
Asked if there was a possibility of Chhagan Bhujbal shifting his political ideology after having been granted bail, the leader said it was highly unlikely.
“(NCP chief) Sharad Pawar did a lot for Chhagan Bhujbal even after he was jailed. There is a slim chance of him betraying Pawar now,” he said.
Bhujbal, 70, in jail since March 2016, was granted bail on May 4 by the Bombay High Court after it took into consideration his old age and deteriorating health.
Notably, the Sena had on Tuesday said Bhujbal’s arrest in a money laundering case and subsequent incarceration was “fate’s revenge” against him for his bid, when he was the state Home minister, to put Sena founder Bal Thackeray behind bars.
Bhujbal, currently undergoing treatment at civic-run KEM hospital, is likely to address a rally in Pune on June 10 when the opposition NCP’s ‘hulla bol’ (attack) yatra would culminate.
The NCP’s yatra across the state is aimed at exposing the BJP-led NDA government’s ‘failures’ on various fronts.
Bhujbal, who handled the Public Works Department in the Congress-NCP government, was arrested in March 2016 after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) found in an inquiry that he allegedly misused his office in awarding contracts for PWD projects, causing a loss to the exchequer.
According to the ED, Bhujbal awarded contracts, including the one for the construction of a new Maharashtra Sadan — the state guest house — in Delhi to a private firm, allegedly in return for kickbacks for himself and his family.
The former state deputy chief minister and his nephew Sameer Bhujbal channelled the ill-gotten money into shell companies, the agency alleged.
Bhujbal started his political career with the Shiv Sena and was in the party for over two decades. He left the Sena in 1991 and joined the Congress.
Later, after Sharad Pawar decided to split from the Congress and form the NCP, the former PWD minister went along with him.