Says he is overwhelmed at party's tremendous success in civic polls
A day after his Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) surprised many with its performance in the Mumbai, Thane, Nashik and Pune Municipal Corporations, its chief Raj Thackeray stated that the party had emerged as a viable alternative in Maharashtra politics. Addressing journalists in Pune on Saturday evening where he met the winning corporators, Mr. Thackeray said he was overwhelmed by the success of the party.
“I am extremely overwhelmed. We will fulfil the expectations of the voters who have trusted the party,” Mr. Thackeray said.
In Mumbai, the party won 28 seats, 21 more than last time. In Pune, the party won 29 seats, 21 more than what it had won in the 2007 civic polls. In its biggest victory in Nashik, the MNS emerged as the single largest party with 40 seats out of 122, improving its chances of being in power at the Nashik Municipal Corporation.
Speaking about forging an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Nashik, Mr. Thackeray said: “I am not hungry for power. I am not desperate. I will go to Nashik on Sunday and decide.” The BJP, which has 14 seats, has hinted at an alliance with the MNS.
No truck with NCP
Ruling out an alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Nashik or in Pune even if it would mean mutually benefiting both the parties, Mr. Thackeray said: “If I do side with the NCP, how will I face my voters? Adjustment is not always the only way out. I have my own opinions and a responsibility to the voters.”
Reiterating his statement during the pre-election campaign, Mr. Thackeray said that the Congress and the NCP were playing with people's emotions. “They are in an alliance in Mumbai, at the State government level and at the Centre. In Pune, they fought independently. How will people trust them?” he asked.
Not ruling out the fact that the MNS got votes because of the inability of the NCP-Congress and the Shiv Sena-BJP to garner support, Mr. Thackeray stated that people had found the alternative they needed.
In Pune, the party would focus on basic facilities and an improved transport system, he said. He stated that the party would organise workshops for its first time corporators, to make the most of the new energy and enthusiasm. “We will strive to be a strong Opposition,” Mr. Thackeray said.