The idea to bring Raj Thackeray-led MNS on board the grand alliance against the BJP-Shiv Sena combine has been received positively by his party. The issue would be discussed with the Congress as well before the nitty gritty of the alliance is worked out, NCP leader Ajit Pawar said on Thursday.
Sources in the NCP said that the issue of taking along the MNS, perceived as being anti-North Indian, was being considered at the level of central leadership of the Congress. However, Ajit Pawar and two other senior leaders of the party Praful Patel and Jayant Patil said that the Parliamentary board of the NCP also pressed for its chief Sharad Pawar to throw hat in the election ring again from Madha Lok Sabha seat.
Party leader Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, who currently represents the seat, said that he himself urged Pawar to contest from the seat. The leader, however, said that it is the NCP who would take a final call in this regard.
“I had met (MNS chief) Raj Thackeray yesterday. I apprised party leaders about it today. We will now discuss the issue with the Congress. The general mood within our party is positive towards taking forward discussion with the MNS,” Pawar told reporters.
The meeting between Pawar and the MNS chief, who have in the past engaged in verbal sparring, took place in Dadar in central Mumbai on Wednesday. It lasted for about one-and-a-half hours.
Patel said the final list of the candidates is likely to be announced in the next five to six days. The Congress and the NCP are talking to alliance partners and would finalise things in two-three days. Patel exuded confidence that the grand alliance will be able to secure 35 seats in Maharashtra.