MNS may enter fray, contest over 40 seats

first_imgAfter pondering for months whether it should contest the Assembly polls, and going silent for days in the wake of party chief Raj Thackeray’s questioning by the Enforcement Directorate, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) finally seems to have decided to enter the fray.At a meeting called by Mr. Thackeray on Friday, party workers from Mumbai demanded that the MNS contest the polls, unlike the general elections. The MNS did not field any candidates in the Lok Sabha elections, but Mr. Thackeray campaigned across the State against the Bharatiya Janata Party. According to party sources, the MNS is likely to contest more than 40 seats in the Assembly polls. “Cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nasik and Aurangabad are on our radar, but we will be targeting rural parts as well,” said one MNS leader. When asked if the party will form an alliance with the Congress or Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), he said no such decision has been taken.MNS general secretary Anil Shidore said Mr. Thackeray is taking constituency-wise views from local leaders. “We are not in a hurry. Let the Election Commission announce the poll dates. We will open our cards at the right time. We are not aiming only at the 2019 Assembly polls; the Mumbai civic polls and the 2024 Assembly polls are also on our mind. We will take a decision best suited for the party and its future growth,” he told The Hindu. Mr Thackeray had been at the forefront of anti-EVM protests in the State and had even united opposition leaders to demand paper ballots for the polls. He fell silent, however, after the ED called him for an inquiry in the ongoing investigation of Kohinoor mill case. His opposition to EVMs had given rise to suspicion that the party may boycott the Assembly polls. “We are meeting again on Saturday. If we contest, we will put in all our strength and even if we decide not to contest, our strategy will be different,” Mr. Shidore said.last_img

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