Raj Thackeray to keep up suspense for now

Mar 05, 2014, 06:37 IST | Niranjan Medhekar

Party leaders say the uncertainty will continue for the next few days, as the MNS chief is likely to clear his stand on the matter only on the party’s foundation day, on March 9

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nitin Gadkari’s appeal to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray to skip the upcoming general elections, and Raj’s stoic silence, have spread a wave of wariness among MNS workers in the city.

Mum’s the word: Media-savvy Raj has not reacted to Gadkari’s appeal. File pic

However, according to party leaders, the uncertainty will remain for the next few days, as Raj would like to clear his stand on the matter only on MNS foundation day, on March 9.

“I don’t want to pass any comments on Gadkari’s remark. Raj would spell out the party’s position on this soon,” Anil Shidore, general secretary of MNS, told mid-day.

When asked when the picture would become clear, he said, “I don’t know, but he (Raj) may choose foundation day (March 9) programme as the occasion. On that day, or perhaps even earlier, the situation will become apparent.”

When contacted, Deepak Paigude, a probable Lok Sabha candidate for MNS from the city, said, “Whatever decision Raj saheb will take I will abide by.”

On the other hand, MNS karyakartas in the city were on tenterhooks, as media-savvy Raj had not reacted to Gadkari’s appeal even after 24 hours. Shirish Agureddy, an MNS worker in the city, has started a Facebook campaign to oppose Gadkari’s request to MNS to stay away from the polls.

“Raj’s recent rally in the city at SP College ground had got a huge response. The environment is favourable for MNS to partake in the Lok Sabha elections. In such a situation, completely abstaining from the polls will have an adverse impact.

That is why MNS should contest independently. I am sure that the party will win seats in Pune, Mumbai and Nashik,” Agureddy maintained.

>> MNS karyakartas in city on tenterhooks
>> Party worker starts Facebook campaign against Gadkari’s appeal

'Not the time to take a backseat'

Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthee Sena (MNVS) city president Sudhir Dhawde said, “The party workers have spent 7 years to create a base in the city. So, this is not the time to take a backseat; we have to contest the elections with our full might.”

Dhawde too expects Raj to clarify his stand on Gadkari’s appeal only on March 9.

Suggesting another option, he said, “I would have supported Gadkari’s appeal, if he had invited MNS into the Mahayuti, and promised to leave substantial seats for us in the state. So, rather than completely staying away from the Lok Sabha elections, a middle path has to be found.”

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