Shiv Sena plans to counter Raj Thackeray's MNS in assembly polls
The heavy votes polled to Raj Thackeray led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) candidates during the recent Lok Sabha elections ensured a defeat for the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in atleast 10 constituencies in Maharashtra. Taking a congnisance of this, the Shiv Sena seems to have taken the MNS factor seriously ahead of the state assembly polls scheduled in October.
- SC directs EC to allot common symbol to MNS - Jet terminates services of 150 trainee technicians">Jet terminates services of 150 trainee technicians - Raj Thackeray gets bail in riots case - Court grants bail to Raj Thackeray - Raj Thackeray surrenders in 2008 riots case - NEWSALERT: Bombay HC asks Raj Thackeray to surrender
Over last few weeks, some of the popular MNS names like Shweta Parulekar, Sanjay Ghadi and Deepak Surve have quit the MNS and joined the Shiv Sena. Out of this, Parulekar was polled over one lakh votes in Mumbai South-Central constituency in the recent Lok Sabha elections. Ghadi and his wife Sanjana have been closely associated with Raj Thackeray since the establishment of MNS.
The developments suggest, the two Thackeray cousins Uddhav Thackeray, executive president of Shiv Sena and MNS-chief Raj are taking the state-assembly battle seriously.
Although Sena leaders refuse to admit their concern over MNS factor, the defeat in six Mumbai constituencies and the prestigious seat of Thane has made Sena prepare a strategy to counter the MNS effect. Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said, "We welcome leaders from other parties in Shiv Sena. The Congress-Nationalist congress Party front is our prime enemy and people from these parties are also joining us. Hence, there is nothing special when it happens in case of MNS members." He added, "We will contest assembly elections with our partner BJP and the prime issues would be corruption, load shedding and farmer suicides along with Hindutva.”
It might be noted that MNS candidates were polled more than one lakh votes in all the six Lok Sabha constituencies in Mumbai and also in neighbouring seats of Kalyan, Thane and Bhiwandi. While MNS candidate Bala Nandgaonkar stood second in Mumbai-South constituency, his counterpart in Nashik Hemant Godse was polled a whopping 2,16,674 votes and emerged as a runner-up.
If the break-up of votes is considered in case of assembly constituencies, MNS candidates gained leads in nine seats while they were runner-ups in 13 seats. This is the reason why Shiv Sena wants to pull key MNS personalities back and hence, make it difficult for the MNS to field good candidates.
However, MNS believes, this would not have much impact over its election prospects. Party general secretary Shirish Parkar told Business Standard over phone, that MNS would field Maharashtrian candidates in all constituencies it plans to contest. "Parties like BJP and Congress would never allot tickets to Maharashtrians in Mumbai and this gives us a tremendous opportunity in the upcoming assembly elections. We expect to win around 35 seats across Maharashtra, which would be an excellent achievement for the party,” Parkar said.