The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has made its intentions clear — it has decided to target the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena in the upcoming Lok Sabha (LS) elections. Of the seven candidates the party will field, three are in the city — all of them against Shiv Sena candidates.
The three are current MLA Bala Nandgaonkar, MNS youth wing president Aditya Shirodkar and Bollywood director Mahesh Manjrekar.
The chosen seven: (left to right) Ashok Khandebarad (Shirur), Pradeep Pawar (Nashik), Bala Nandgaonkar (Mumbai South), Raj Thackeray, Mahesh Manjrekar (Mumbai North West), Deepak Paigude (Pune), Aditya Shirodkar (Mumbai South Central) and Rajeev Patil (Kalyan). Pic/Rane Ashish
There had been reports that MNS wouldn’t be a part of the LS polls, but the party chief laid those claims to rest when he announced the candidatures yesterday at Shanmukhananda Hall, during the celebrations of the eighth anniversary of his party.
All seven candidates are up against the Sena except for the Pune constituency, which, according to the seat sharing in the grand Mahayuti alliance, is a BJP seat.
However, the BJP is yet to announce its Pune candidate.
At the meet, Thackeray vouched his support for Gujarat CM Narendra Modi as the PM candidate and claimed his party men would support Modi in Delhi.
A senior leader from the MNS told mid-day, “There was a discussion for three to five seats for us, but even here Sena didn’t give it to us. Hence, Rajsaheb decided to contest polls. But our candidates won’t be against the BJP, only Shiv Sena. Once Balasaheb spoke about the ‘Yaduvansh’ fight, where none of the Yaduvansh remained after the fight. It’s going to be same here too. In this fight no one shall remain, neither the MNS nor the Sena.”
MNS’ Thackeray had met ex BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, who had asked him not to contest the polls. Thackeray seems to have obliged him.
“We are putting the country first and we will be taking it ahead by supporting Narendra Modi. We have shown that we are not a party against Modi. We support development,” said Akhilesh Chaubey, the vice-president of MNS’ legal cell.
Bala Nandgaonkar vs Arvind Sawant
Vote share in ’09 elections: 24.9 per cent (MNS) vs 22.78 per cent (Shiv Sena)
Also in the fight: Milind Deora (Congress incumbent), Meera Sanyal (AAP)
Mumbai South Central
Aditya Shirodkar vs Rahul Shewale
Vote share in ’09 elections: 18.09 per cent (MNS) vs 30.36 per cent (Shiv Sena)
Also in the fight: Eknath Gaikwad (Congress incumbent)
Mumbai North West
Mahesh Manjrekar vs Gajanan Kirtikar
Vote share in ’09 elections: 17.54 per cent (MNS) vs 30.48 per cent (Shiv Sena)
Also in the fight: Gurudas Kamat (Congress incumbent), Mayank Gandhi (AAP)