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Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the "top leader of the country and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)", Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said on Thursday, two days after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray met the PM in Delhi to seek his help over the Maratha quota issue.

"I believe that Narendra Modi is the top leader of the country and Bharatiya Janata Party," the Shiv Sena MP said.

"No one can deny the fact that the success which the Bharatiya Janata Party has got in the last 7 years is only because of Narendra Modi," Raut added.

The Shiv Sena’s stand has always been that a prime minister belongs to the entire country and not a particular party, he said, adding, "Hence the PM shouldn't get involved in election campaigning as it puts pressure on the official machinery".

A one-on-one meeting held between PM Modi and CM Thackeray on June 8 that drew intense interest in political circles.

However, the Maharashtra chief minister said there was nothing wrong in having such interaction, adding snarkily that he had not gone to meet Pakistani leader Nawaz Sharif.

The Maharashtra chief minister said although his party and the BJP may have parted ways, "the relationship has not ended".

The Shiv Sena-BJP alliance crumbled in 2019 over the issue of chief ministership. Sena, which was one of the oldest allies of the BJP, later formed an unlikely alliance with the NCP and Congress to form the Mahavikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra.

Since then, the two parties have had a strained relationship, with both leaving no opportunity to viciously attack each other.

Uddhav Thackeray's father and Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray had shared a good equation with Modi.

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