Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Saturday said the party was ready to fight the next year’s civic elections in Pune on its own or as part of MVA alliance. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s popularity will help the party in the polls, he told reporters here.
The Shiv Sena was exploring both the options — fighting the civic polls on its own or as part of MVA alliance which also includes NCP and Congress, he said. “We are considering both the possibilities….The party is fully prepared for both options," said Raut.
Even if it enters into alliance, the Sena will contest at least 80 (out of 162) seats in the city, he said. Asked about Mumbai civic polls, Raut only said the Sena expects continuance of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance in all local elections in Maharashtra.
On Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole’s statement that his party was ready to contest all seats alone in Mumbai polls, Raut said he wished him good luck. “They (Congress) did that in West Bengal. If the Congress comes to power in the Centre on its own, there would be nothing more historic," the Sena leader said.
If the Congress musters the capacity to defeat prime minister Narendra Modi and his party on its own, the Shiv Sena would stand by it, he added. On the Sena’s lacklustre performance in Pune civic polls in the past, Raut said the party was working hard to strengthen the base and reach out to people.
“The way chief minister Uddhav Thackeray is working, his image is rising among the masses day by day and the party will benefit from it," Raut added. On the feud with the NCP over the election of chairman of Panchayat Samiti in Khed, Raut said `poaching’ of Shiv Sena’s members and bringing a low confidence motion against Sena chairman Bhagwan Pokharkar was “injustice" to the party.
When the three parties are working together at the state level, such incidents cause bitterness, he said. Raut alleged that Khed NCP MLA Dilip Mohite Patil was behind the development.
“However…as a senior leader from the district, Ajit Pawar should look into this issue," he said. The Sena had also requested state NCP chief Jayant Patil to look into the matter, he said.
The Sena will never betray its alliance partners in this way, he added. He visited Khed on the instructions of Uddhav Thackeray, Raut said.