Raj Thackeray’s MNS to Contest Maharashtra Assembly Polls
Party sources cited by IANS indicated that the MNS may contest around 125 seats for the Maharashtra Assembly polls.
In what is a significant political development the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) would be contesting the 21 October state Assembly elections, party President Raj Thackeray announced in Mumbai on Monday, 30 September, reported IANS.
“We will contest the Assembly elections and shall also win. The candidates and the seats on which we shall contest will be announced in the next couple of days,” Thackeray said amidst thunderous applause at a meeting of party leaders and office-bearers.
The cousin of Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray and nephew of the late Bal Thackeray, Raj Thackeray, 52, had quit the party in 2006 and formed the MNS the same year.
Though the exact number of seats the MNS will contest is not clear as yet, following a meeting at the MIG Club in Bandra on Monday afternoon, party sources cited by IANS indicated that the number may be around 125.
It is also not known if the party will consider putting up a candidate in Worli, from where Raj Thackeray's nephew Aditya Thackeray will contest his maiden election.
While addressing party workers on Monday, Raj Thackeray also said that the reason behind Enforcement Directorate (ED) going against him and the Pawar family was to prevent any economic aid coming their way for the elections.
When ED or any other agency gets after you, then those who offer help during elections avoid any interaction with you, they don't even pick up your phone, he reportedly said.
The party has kept mum so far on its possible pre-poll tie-ups with other parties or alliances, though party leaders claim they would win sufficient numbers to emerge as the 'king-maker' in case the other two major alliances fail to get the majority.
The MNS is likely to put up candidates mostly in urban centres like Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Nashik and Pune and the campaign will be kicked off with a public rally in Mumbai on 5 October, IANS further reported.
Various Parties in the Fray for Maha Polls
In August, Thackeray was summoned by the ED for questioning in an alleged case of financial irregularities in one of his business ventures along with his other partners.
The ED is investigating alleged irregularities pertaining to loans and investments of over Rs 4.5 billion by the crisis-hit IL&FS in Kohinoor CTNL Infrastructure Company, which is developing the Kohinoor Square complex in Dadar.
While Raj Thackeray had exited from that project, it was later handled by Unmesh Joshi, son of senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi, a former state CM and former Lok Sabha Speaker.
With the MNS’ entry into the poll fray, the state electorate has a multitude of choices before them.
These include the formidable ruling combine of Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena, whose formal partnership is likely to be announced shortly, the opposition Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance, the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, besides other local and state parties, and pressure groups like the Vidarbha Sangharsh Samiti.
(With inputs from IANS.)
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