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1-min read

Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Bows Out of Lok Sabha Elections

Raj Thackeray may declare support to the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the MNS rally on March 19.

News18.com

Updated:March 17, 2019, 7:29 PM IST
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Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Bows Out of Lok Sabha Elections
File photo of MNS chief Raj Thackeray. (Getty Images)
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New Delhi: The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), led by Raj Thackeray, has decided not to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

MNS leader Shirish Sawant issued a statement in this regard on Sunday.

Sources said Thackeray may declare support to the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the MNS rally on March 19.

Thackeray and Pawar share a cosy relationship, and the latter is said to have be keen to accommodate the MNS from its share of seats in the state.

A reluctant Congress, apprehending the MNS could damage its north Indian vote bank, had been vehemently opposing his entry into the opposition grand alliance here.

However, Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s open-door policy to any party willing to join the opposition alliance, made last week during his maiden election campaign in Maharashtra, had kindled hope in the MNS of catapulting back to the political space.

There were also speculations that the MNS may get an opportunity to contest at least one seat through the NCP and hopefully open its account in the Lok Sabha, though both sides remained mum on the issue, and he might campaign for the opposition across the state.

In the past, the MNS had tasted electoral success by winning 13 assembly constituencies in 2009, but was reduced to a single seat in 2014.

Simultaneously, the party created waves in elections to local bodies, civic councils and municipal corporations across the state but is now reduced to a trickle raising questions about its survival.

At one time, an unabashed fan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today, Thackeray with his legendary oratory skills, is considered among the shrillest critics of the not only Modi, but also the BJP and its president, Amit Shah.

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