Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray said that his party was contesting the Lok Sabha elections to win and not just to divide votes. In the 2009 Parliamentary elections, the MNS had divided the saffon vote and helped the Congress win several seats.

“I am not here to make other people win or lose. My candidates will win the [Lok Sabha] elections and become MPs,” Mr. Thackeray said in his maiden election rally. He reiterated that MNS MPs will support the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi after the elections. “The country needs a determined leadership that Narendra Modi can give,” he said.

Heaps praise on Modi

Continuing his praise for the Gujarat strongman, Mr. Thackeray stated that he had noticed Mr. Modi’s work in Gujarat and visited the State, long before the BJP itself noticed it. “I visited Gujarat when there was no talk of Modi being made the PM candidate. I don’t need to wear any masks,” he said.

Even as he extended support to the BJP, he fired a salvo at its alliance partner in the State — Shiv Sena. Ruling out the possibility of the MNS joining the BJP-Sena alliance, he stated that repeated indications by Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray were a farce. Referring to a recent piece in the Sena mouthpiece Saamna, he said, “You are questioning my aukaad [capacity]. I will show you my aukaad in the upcoming elections.”

He revealed that senior BJP leaders, including Nitin Gadkari and Gopinath Munde, had requested him to join the alliance, and later not to contest the Lok Sabha polls.