MNS may not contest Lok Sabha elections
For quite some time now, there has been a buzz in political circles that Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) may not contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha (LS) elections.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray and BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat CM Narendra Modi greet each other at an event in Ahmedabad. File pic
If the reports coming out of the party meeting held yesterday at his residence are anything to go by, then the eight-year-old party may not be an election-spoiler for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in LS polls.
Rumour has it that by not entering the fray, the MNS is hoping to do the NDA a favour, but are looking for their support in the assembly elections, scheduled for October this year.
“Presently, the discussions are in favour of not contesting the LS polls and support Modi silently, and get benefits from them in the assembly polls,” said a senior MNS party leader, on condition of anonymity.
“A final decision in this regard is expected to be taken by Rajsaheb soon, but at present the mood is to think of the larger picture rather than being a spoilsport,” added the leader.
In the 2009 LS polls, MNS had severely dented the Sena-BJP votes, especially in areas like the Mumbai North East constituency, where the BJP candidate lost the elections by a narrow margin of 2,933 votes to their nearest rival, while the MNS candidate had polled close to 1.95 lakh votes.
Similarly, in the Mumbai North constituency, the BJP candidate lost by 5,000 votes and here, too, the MNS candidate secured nearly a lakh votes. The trend was the same in Mumbai South and North West constituencies.
'What's the point?'
While some party leaders said this would help the NDA, a majority of the workers are upset with this probable decision. “If the leader takes any decision of not contesting polls, then our cadre would be demotivated. Why form a party if we don’t want to contest the polls?” asked another leader.
According to party leaders, Thackeray hopes to please both Modi and Gadkari with this move. Sources at the MNS said Thackeray would explain the reasons for his decision to party workers on March 9, the day the party was formed.
>> Discussions to not enter the fray were held at Raj Thackeray’s residence yesterday
>> A senior party leader said the move will help the NDA in the general elections and in return, MNS expect a favour in the assembly elections