Shiv Sena joins hands with MNS in Versova to 'teach BJP a lesson'

After their Versova candidate bungled in filing her candidature leading to her nomination papers being rejected, Shiv Sena workers say they will vote for archrival MNS’s candidate, to prevent their former ally from winning

Politics truly makes for strange bedfellows. Less than two weeks ago, the Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were part of an alliance, though not on the best of terms, and were trying to stifle the chances of others in the upcoming assembly elections.

Sainiks say they will ensure Sena votes go to MNS candidate Manish Dhuri, in order to dent the BJP’s chances of winning the Versova seat. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Sainiks say they will ensure Sena votes go to MNS candidate Manish Dhuri, in order to dent the BJP’s chances of winning the Versova seat. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Now, after the acrimonious break-up with the BJP, the Shiv Sena finds itself in a strange predicament having to support archrival Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) to undermine the BJP’s campaign to retain the Versova constituency.

mid-day’s report yesterday on Patel’s nomination getting rejected
mid-day’s report yesterday on Patel’s nomination getting rejected

The situation arises after Sena’s own candidate, Rajul Patel, filed an incomplete nomination that led to the returning officer rejecting her form. With the deadline having passed, the Sena had to bow out without a fight (‘Shiv Sena loses fight for Versova as candidate’s form is rejected’, September 30).

Having no option left, sainiks say they will, on the sly, vote for MNS’s Manish Dhuri, in order to defeat BJP’s Dr Bharati Lavekar.

Anti-BJP sentiment
Like any other marriage gone sour, the Sena has been lashing out at its former partner. On Monday, discussions began as to what to do and how to teach the BJP a lesson.

“We were very confident about Rajultai’s victory, but now that she is out of the race, we didn’t know what to do. Then, the MNS people approached us, asking us to vote for their candidate since ours was out of the race. And we will do so in order to show the BJP their rightful place,” a local Sena worker.

When asked if their votes were enough to dethrone three-time MLA Khosa, the party man said, “We don’t mind if the Congress or NCP wins. It’s the BJP that we are targeting.” A local MNS leader confirmed they had indeed approached the Sena with this proposal. “We have asked them to help us out since Rajultai is no longer competing, in order to better Dhuri’s chances of winning.”

The constituency comprises Versova, SVP Nagar, Adarsh Nagar, Millat Nagar and Lokhandwala complex, all of which have a distributed population of Marathi, north Indian and Muslim voters, whose votes are crucial to a win.

Patel was a corporator from K/West ward number 55 - the Adarsh Nagar-Behraumbaug area which has a sizeable population of north Indians supporting the Sena. With their corporator out of the race, these votes are set to go to the Congress, or if Shiv Sena has its way, the MNS.

Some Sena workers will also assist in campaign efforts for their party’s candidate in Andheri West constituency, Jaywant Parab. Parab, who had campaigned with Ashok Jadhav in 2009 to help him win, returned to the Sena in 2011. He will now seek to defeat Jadhav.

Major candidates for Versova
Baldev Khosa - Congress
Manish Dhuri - MNS
Narendra Verma - NCP
Dr Bharati Lavekar - BJP

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