Thackeray’s MNS toying with idea of going solo in Maha civic polls

MNS spokesperson Sandeep Deshpande told media persons that his party would put up candidates in the 227 wards for the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
Raj Thackeray
Raj ThackerayPTI

MUMBAI: The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) is planning to go alone in the upcoming civic elections in Mumbai and other major cities or towns in the state, a party official said on Wednesday.

MNS spokesperson Sandeep Deshpande told media persons that his party would put up candidates in the 227 wards for the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

He said the party chief has also directed that the MNS should prepare to contest all other civic bodies independently, the schedules of which are likely to be announced soon.

Though he did not cite any reasons for the proposed move, the decision could prove to be a huge dampener for Chief Minister Eknath Shinde group and Bharatiya Janata Party's Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis.

The two parties have been separately and jointly wooing Raj Thackeray hoping for a civic polls tie-up to beat the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) but with the MNS's suo moto announcement, the possibility appears remote for the present.

Late August and early September, Shinde and several BJP state and central leaders had called on Raj Thackeray amid speculation that he would meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his Ganeshotsav trip to Mumbai.

Though the meeting with Shah did not materialise, Raj Thackeray received Shinde and many BJP leaders during Ganeshotsav festival at his home and later reciprocated their gesture.

In June, the MNS - which has a solitary MLA supporting the Shinde-Fadnavis regime - had announced that it will contest Nashik Municipal Corporation polls solo, with the city considered its stronghold.

The party is expected to announce its tentative list of candidates for various civic bodies including BMC, NMC and others shortly, Deshpande indicated without giving details.

With this, the civic elections may witness multi-party contests in various cities with the Shinde group-BJP competing against Shiv Sena, Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, now the MNS, besides other smaller and local parties crowding the scene.

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