Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil on Thursday sought to clear the air about his 'friendship with tiger' statement and asserted his party doesn't want to be friends with a "caged tiger".
Addressing a press conference organised on the occasion of his birthday here, he also indicated that the BJP would prefer to contest the upcoming civic body elections in the state alone.
Municipal corporations of Mumbai, Pune and some other major cities are slated for elections in early 2022.
Patil said, "Recently, I was in a programme where a volunteer working in the wildlife field gifted a photo album to me along with a replica of a tiger. Reacting to his gesture, I told him that it's a nice gift and 'we are always friends with tigers'.
"However, media persons connected the remarks with the Shiv Sena as the tiger is their symbol. It is true that we are always trying to make friends with many, but we would love friendship with a tiger from the forest and not a caged one." Patil's previous remarks had fuelled speculation that the BJP was seeking to reach out to the Shiv Sena, its former ally which joined hands with the Congress and the NCP, its ideological opponents, to form the MVA government in the state in November 2019.
The BJP leader, who is an MLA from Pune city, said his party wants to retain its top position in Maharashtra and would like to contest civic polls without entering into an alliance with any political outfit.
He said, "On my birthday I have made a political resolution to retain the BJP's number one position in the state by winning the upcoming civic body elections without making an alliance with anybody." The former minister challenged political parties in the state to fight elections individually to see where they stand.
Patil applauded Pune city Lok Sabha MP Girish Bapat's initiative to arrange COVID-19 vaccination at home for people from the Kasaba constituency who can not move out due to health reasons.
On his birthday, Patil donated 1,300 COVID-19 vaccination coupons to people from the economically weaker section residing in Kothrud, his assembly constituency, and CNG coupons to autorickshaw drivers from the area.