The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has finally announced that it will contest the Lok Sabha election but it will field candidates in those constituencies where Shiv Sena will contest election. Thus MNS party’s decision will once again split the Marathi votes which will benefit the Congress and NCP. The party nonetheless would avoid a face-off with the Bharatiya Janata Party and will not directly contest against it. MNS also supports BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and want him to lead the country. The party has declared the candidate list who will contest the general election. On one hand, MNS will support BJP and on the other side it will give a tough competition to Shiv Sena.
MNS Chief Raj Thackeray yesterday declared its first list of candidate who will contest election on the occasion of its 8th Anniversary. The party has fielded six candidates from those constituencies were Shiv Sena will be contesting election.
The first list of seven candidates consists of filmmaker Mahesh Manjarekar who will make his electoral debut from Mumbai North West constituency currently represented by Congress MP Gurudas Kamat. Shiv Sena has announced nomination of party veteran Gajanan Kirtikar from this seat whereas AAP has fielded Mayank Gandhi.
Raj’s close confidant and party MLA Bala Nandgaonkar will take on Arvind Sawant of Shiv Sena and Milind Deora of Congress in Mumbai South. AAP’s Meera Sanyal too is contesting election from the same constituency.
MNS youth candidate Aditya Shirodkar will contest from Sena stronghold of Mumbai South Central constituency against Rahul Shewale. Other MNS candidates whose names were announced include Raju Patil (Kalyan-Dombivli), Ashok Khandebharad (Shirur), Dr Pradeep Pawar (Nashik) and Deepak Paigude from Pune.
While Patil will take on Shrikant Shinde of Shiv Sena in Kalyan seat currently represented by Sena rebel Anand Paranjape. Khandebharad will contest against sitting Sena MP Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil from Shirur and Pawar against NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal from Nashik.
While addressing the party workers at Shanmukhanand hall Raj Thackeray said, “We will contest the Lok Sabha elections. I will show my party’s strength during the elections. We will support Narendra Modi for the PM’s post. Modi should become the Prime Minister of the country,”
The BJP welcomed Raj Thackeray’s decision to support it. On the other hand, Yuva Sena leader Rahul Narvekar said, “The MNS party’s decision to field candidates against the Sena won’t affect the party.”
Talking to AV, opposition alleged that MNS is severing ties with Shiv Sena as the party is losing its foothold in Maharashtra. NCP leader, Jitendra Ahwad said, “BJP is aware that Shiv Sena’s popularity has been declining in Maharashtra. The BJP wants to eliminate Shiv Sena by forming an alliance with the MNS.”
Shiv Sena MLC and spokesperson Neelam Gore said, “The support announced by MNS to Narendra Modi is mere eyewash. He is indirectly supporting the Congress NCP by creating a division of Marathi votes. Raj’s toll campaign too has failed to yield the desired results hence he is trying to undo the damage by supporting BJP.”