Raj Thackeray backs Mahayuti alliance, says country needs ‘strong leadership’

Raj Thackeray’s support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes after his meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah last month

Updated - April 10, 2024 11:24 am IST

Published - April 10, 2024 01:15 am IST - Mumbai

MNS chief Raj Thackeray addressing the Gudi Padwa rally at Shivaji Park in Mumbai on Tuesday

MNS chief Raj Thackeray addressing the Gudi Padwa rally at Shivaji Park in Mumbai on Tuesday | Photo Credit: EMMANUAL YOGINI

In a major development in Maharashtra politics, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief, Raj Thackeray on Tuesday announced to extend ‘unconditional’ support to Mahayuti coalition --Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Eknath Shinde led Shiv Sena, and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Addressing the Gudi Padwa rally from Mumbai’s Shivaji Park, the MNS chief, Mr. Thackeray also announced that the MNS will not contest for Lok Sabha polls 2024 but asked his supports and party workers to buckle up for the Maharashtra Assembly elections due later this year. 

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Thackeray began his speech addressing women and people from the Hindu faith and then criticized the Election Commission for appointing Government healthcare workers, doctors and nurses, on election duty. “The job of doctors and nurses is to serve patients. This is so wrong that they are assigned election poll duties. What will they do there? Check blood pressure of voters or change diapers at the booth? I urge all the healthcare workers to refuse such orders, I will keep a close watch and see who is firing you from your job.” 

MNS leader who recently on March 19, had met the BJP leaders in New Delhi and had a meeting with the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, stirred speculations of him joining the BJP-led Mahayuti alliance in Maharashtra that already has Eknath Shinde led Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) faction led by Ajit Pawar. “I am not someone who believes in splitting or breaking a party. I will never work under anyone. I will be the chief of MNS party only. I will never let the party symbol compromise because I know how much hard work has gone behind building it. In my meeting with Devendra Fadnavis, I have told him clearly that I don’t want Rajya Sabha or Vidhan Sabha. I have no expectations and no conditions. However, BJP, NCP and Shiv Sena will have my unconditional support.” 

MNS chief did not shy away from taking a dig at the Chief Minister Eknath Shinde at the public gathering today. “For the last one and a half years, CM of Maharashtra has visited me at my home and in every meeting, he said, ‘we should work together’ but never explained how. Mr. Fadnavis too said the same thing. This is why I had visited Mr. Amit Shah to understand their proposal. The conversation of seat distribution did not work for me as I do not want to compromise on party symbol and name. The last time I sat for negotiations was in 1995. I honestly, do not have the temperament for negotiations at this point.” 

Praising PM Modi, he said, “I was the first one in the country to believe in Narendra Modi and had said, Mr. Modi should be the Prime Minister of this country, even when his own partymen did not believed in him.” 

Calling upon the youth of the country, he said, “The future is in the hands of the youth. I wish to see farmers of Maharasthra adapting to modern skills, I would like to see them in jeans driving tractors and this can only happen if the youth of our state enter the farming sector.” 

Raj Thackeray separated from the undivided Shiv Sena and formed Maharashtra Navnirman Sena in 2006. 

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