Ever since the BJP had severed ties with Shiv Sena the latter has been trying to woo MNS party. Uddhav had spoken to MNS chief Raj Thackeray as there is a possibility of both the parties sealing an alliance in the state. Raj Thackeray had formed his own party in 2006 by breaking off from Shiv Sena. Raj had said that Uddhav should have understood that the BJP can never be trusted. The MNS supremo added that BJP is relying on Modi to campaign for assembly election as the party doesn’t have a face in Maharashtra. He already has released the blue print for the state.
By aligning with the Shiv Sena, Raj hopes to avoid the division of votes and jointly encash the sympathy for the two, especially in the absence of Bal Thackeray. MNS insiders confirmed the beginning of talks between the two parties. The state will witness will five cornered fight after Congress broke off ties with NCP and BJP severed ties with Shiv Sena.
MNS is represented by senior leaders Bala Nandgaonkar and Rajan Shirodkar, while Shiv Sena team comprises Anil Desai, Vinayak Raut, and Milind Narvekar.
According to sources, if the two brothers arrive at some tacit understanding of not pitching candidates against each other in some constituencies, it could be mutually beneficial.
The spot left vacant in 12 municipal bodies, including Mumbai and Thane, with the BJP backing out of the alliance could be filled up by the MNS. In Mumbai civic body, the Sena, which has 75 seats, could replace the BJP which has 31 corporators with the MNS which has 28 corporators to keep power.
A post-poll alliance or a possibility of the MNS helping the Sena retain power in the BMC cannot be ruled out, sources indicated. “The reason why both of them split is the issue of leadership and that will still remain if the two come together. Breaking away from the Sena is crucial to MNS’ existence. For Raj to succeed, he will have to be seen as a lone fighter,” political commentator Surendra Jondhale said.
Uddhav for his part, assured his party cadre that the Modi wave could be held back, saying during one of his rallies, “I have nothing against Modi. But it is very clear that if there was indeed a ‘Modi wave’ in the state, they would not have asked him (Modi) to hold so many rallies. It is the first time that a PM will hold so many rallies before assembly polls.”
Both cousins subsequently confirmed that a conversation had taken place, although it was not clear what had been discussed. Uddhav said that he had merely called to inquire about his cousins ‘health’, while Raj said that he would reveal the content of the conversation later.