MNS to support Narendra Modi

MNS to support Narendra Modi

MNS to support Narendra Modi

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on Sunday declared its support to BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and also announced party’s first list of seven candidates that included filmmaker and actor Mahesh Manjrekar who will contest against sitting Congress MP Gurudas Kamat from Mumbai (North-West) constituency.

While party’s support to Narendra Modi did not come as a surprise in the backdrop of praises showered by MNS chief Raj Thackeray in the past, the announcement of filmmaker Manjrekar as a candidate raised many eyebrows considering that there were several aspirants for the ticket.

Talking to media while announcing the first list of candidates, MNS leader Thackeray said his party’s support to Modi was purely “in the larger national interest”.

Interestingly, in the last Lok Sabha polls, the MNS, which had just come into existence, tried its luck in 12 seats. Even though it could not win a single seat, its candidates managed to secure a lakh votes in 10 seats and grabbed the second position, leaving Shiv Sena-BJP combine candidates far behind in the race. These seats were won by the ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

However, the MNS, despite its thrilling debut in the state Assembly and a good show in the last Lok Sabha polls, got a drubbing last year in the Mumbai municipal elections where Shiv Sena emerged triumphant proving all poll predictions and political pundits wrong. Of the seven names announced in the first phase, MNS will be facing Shiv Sena candidates in six of them and in the seventh it will be contesting against BJP candidate in Pune.

The constituencies announced in the first phase are: Mumbai (South), Mumbai (South Central), Mumbai (North-West), Kalyan, Shirur, Nashik and Pune. The second list will be announced in a couple of days, MNS chief Thackeray informed.

Apart from filmmaker Manjrekar, MNS party leader in the state legislature Bala Nandgaonkar will test his political skills against Union minister of state for IT and telecommunication Milind Deora from Mumbai (South).

Interestingly, last week, BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, who is out in the cold vis-à-vis his party as well as media coverage, grabbed headlines after spelling out that he was trying to persuade MNS leader Thackeray to desist from fielding candidates as it would lead to vote-bank split.