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Raj Thackeray May Get 1 Lok Sabha Seat

By Archis Mohan & agencies
Last updated on: March 20, 2024 14:30 IST
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The MNS joining the BJP-led alliance in Maharashtra could help it with a 'Thackeray versus Thackeray' narrative, fielding Raj Thackeray, an articulate speaker, to take on his cousin Uddhav Thackeray.

IMAGE: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray addresses a rally in Aurangabad, May 1, 2022. Photograph: PTI Photo/Rediff archives

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Raj Thackeray met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and later held discussions with Bharatiya Janata Party General Secretary Vinod Tawde in New Delhi on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, to explore the possibility of his party joining the Mahayuti alliance in Maharashtra.

The Mahayuti alliance currently comprises three constituents: The BJP, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena, and the Ajit Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party. The alliance is set to announce its seat-sharing formula for Maharashtra's 48 Lok Sabha seats later this week.

The MNS joining the alliance could help it with a 'Thackeray versus Thackeray' narrative, fielding Raj Thackeray, an articulate speaker, to take on his cousin Uddhav Thackeray and his Shiv Sena (UBT). The Sena (UBT) is a constituent of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA).

In 2019, the BJP contested 25 seats and the undivided Sena 23 seats in Maharashtra, winning 23 and 18 seats respectively.

In that election, Raj Thackeray addressed several well-attended public meetings to criticise Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, and championed the Congress-NCP alliance.

On Tuesday Raj Thackeray met Shah along with Tawde. He is also scheduled to meet Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Ajit Pawar, and Shinde before an official announcement is made. The MNS could contest a seat in Mumbai as part of the alliance, sources said.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav accused the BJP of trying to 'steal' a 'Thackeray' and appropriate Bal Thackeray's legacy to win elections. He said the BJP knew that only Bal Thackeray's name, and not that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, would get them votes in Maharashtra.

'First, they stole the photo of Bal Thackeray, but it doesn't matter. Today, they are trying to steal another Thackeray,' Uddhav said in Nanded, concluding his two-day tour of Nanded and Hingoli districts in the Marathwada region.

Maharashtra Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said the Raj Thackeray-led MNS would strengthen the Mahayuti for the Lok Sabha, Maharashtra assembly polls, scheduled for later this year, and the civic elections.

Raj Thackeray founded the MNS in 2006. However, the party has struggled to make any significant electoral impact in the past 18 years.

His remarks against North Indians have been criticised by most political parties, including the BJP.

In the 2009 assembly polls, the MNS won 13 seats in the 288-member legislative assembly. In the 2019 assembly polls, the MNS could win only one seat.

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Archis Mohan & agencies
Source: source
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