The Raj Thackeray-led MNS on Saturday announced that it is fielding former Shiv Sena man Abhijit Panse from Thane Lok Sabha constituency, where he would be taking on Sena candidate Rajan Vichare.
MNS also declared candidature of Suresh Mhatre from Bhiwandi Lok Sabha constituency where he would be pitted against BJP candidate.
Mr. Panse is former head of the Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Sena (BVS), the Shiv Sena’s student wing. He played a key role in the launch of the Aditya Thackeray-led Yuva Sena and was at the forefront of the protest against Rohinton Mistry’s novel ’Such a Long Journey’
While Mr. Panse will be battling Mr. Vichare in Thane, the BJP has so far not announced its nominee from Bhiwandi.
The MNS move drew strong criticism from Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, who claimed that the Raj Thackeray party, by declaring support to BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, are using Modi’s “mask” to garner votes. “Earlier, they (MNS) tried to use late Balasaheb Thackeray’s photo but after a warning from him, they stopped. Now, they are using Modi’s mask to get votes,” the Sena leader told reporters in Mumbai.