Shiv Sena, on Thursday, reached out to prominent farmers' leader Rakesh Tikait as it seeks to make an electoral foray in Uttar Pradesh to dent the prospects of its former ally BJP.
Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut met Tikait, who had emerged as the face of the year-long farmers' agitation against the now-repealed three farm laws, at Muzaffarnagar in western Uttar Pradesh.
"I discussed the serious problems and issues faced by farmers of Uttar Pradesh and political situation in the country. The burning issues of farmers of western Uttar Pradesh too figured prominently. Shiv Sena is committed to deliver justice to the farmers," Raut said on Twitter.
Earlier, he told a press conference in New Delhi that Shiv Sena has plans to field 50 to 100 candidates in Uttar Pradesh, including in Ayodhya and Mathura and made it clear that the party will not be part of any alliance.
Raut said the Shiv Sena had played an important role in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and made several sacrifices.
"We had visited Ayodhya thrice under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray when the Ayodhya movement appeared to have lost steam," Raut said, adding that the party was also aware of the sentiments of the people with regards to Mathura, the birth place of Lord Krishna.
Shiv Sena hopes that its twin focus on Hindutva and farmers could blunt the BJP's challenge in the state. Raut said it had kept away from Uttar Pradesh earlier as it was in alliance with the BJP
Raut made it clear that the Ram temple at Ayodhya was being built on the direction of the Supreme Court and no single political party can claim credit for it.