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"It is because in today's environment, the PM's photo is equivalent to the stamp paper of Telgi", Thackeray said while addressing a rally in suburban Mumbai. Sena split with BJP for the BMC polls after 25 years although it remains in alliance with Narendra Modi-party at the Centre, and in Maharashtra. But nothing has been decided or discussed yet.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray felicitates Patidar community leader Hardik Patel at his residence Matoshree at Bandra in Mumbai on Tuesday. He has been a harsh critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP-led government.

The race to head the richest civic body has just got more intense, BJP which has dominated the Gujurati votes in many elections, will now have to think of some strategy to woo Gujarati voter base.

Describing Patel as "a firebrand leader", Thackeray said that the Patidar community leader "would be the face of the party in Gujarat".

Aaditya Thackeray also tweeted about the meeting and said, "Uddhav ji and I welcome @HardikPatel_ at Matoshri, he came to pay his tribute to @ShivSena Pramukh Shri Balasaheb Thackeray".

With BJP and Sena headed for a collision course in BMC elections, Sena leaders were anxious of completely losing the Gujarati vote in the metropolis. Patel has often said he has high regard for Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray.

"My meeting people from the Gujarati community in Mumbai should not be viewed politically", he said, however.

Taking a jibe at BJPs transparency poll plank, Thackeray asked chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to explain how he occupied the constitutional post when he did not have sufficient numbers post the 2014 Maharashtra assembly polls. They all stood with BJP in the parliamentary and Assembly elections. There are no caste divisions in Mumbai's Gujarati community.

Sena is also wooing the Gujarati votes in this elections by calling Hardik Patel to Mumbai.

Hardik Patel was exiled from Gujarat and spent half a year in Udaipur in Rajasthan as the condition for his bail after his arrest in 2015 for violence during protests over quota for Patels.