The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) bubble has burst in the Lok Sabha polls.
The party which put nine candidates in Maharashtra, has cut a sorry figure, with its nominees not even nearing the finish line. MNS chief Raj Thackeray's tactical move to field candidates against the Shiv Sena on one hand and extend support to BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on the other has clearly not worked.
In 2009, the MNS polled 4.6 per cent of the total votes, but indications are that the vote share of the party will go downward this time around.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray. File Pic
The drubbing was due to many factors, including the absence of consolidation of Marathi and Gujarati votes in the party's favour. MNS fielded three contenders from Mumbai but none of them won. "We had told Raj Thackeray that he should not play a spoilsport and not field candidates as he has backed Narendra Modi for PM," state BJP president Devendra Fadnavis said.
The MNS, which fielded nine candidates besides extending support to two candidates fielded by Peasant and Workers Party, was banking on the Modi "wave" to boost the electoral prospects of its candidates in Mumbai and adjoining Bhiwandi, Thane and Kalyan-Dombivali.
MNS fielded three candidates in Mumbai Bala Nandgaonkar (Mumbai South), director-actor Mahesh Manjrekar (Mumbai North West) and Aditya Shirodkar (Mumbai South Central).
It also put up Raju Patil (Kalyan-Dombivili), Pradeep Pawar (Nashik), Deepak Paigude (Pune), Suresh Mhatre (Bhiwandi) and Abhijit Panse (Thane). The MNS leader was snubbed by BJP chief Rajnath Singh for extending an "unsolicited support" to Modi and "seeking votes" in his name without joining the Shiv-Sena-BJP-RPI alliance.