Ex-MNS leader Vasant More joins Shiv Sena (UBT) as Uddhav Thackeray looks to strengthen base in Pune 

Vasant More had unsuccessfully contested the Pune seat in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election on a VBA ticket after quitting the MNS

Updated - July 09, 2024 08:57 pm IST

Published - July 09, 2024 08:22 pm IST - Pune

Pune leader Vasant More joined the Shiv Sena (UBT) in the presence of Uddhav Thackeray at Matoshree in Mumbai on July 9, 2024.

Pune leader Vasant More joined the Shiv Sena (UBT) in the presence of Uddhav Thackeray at Matoshree in Mumbai on July 9, 2024. | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

With eye to the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly election, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) is looking to shore up its base in Pune after city leader Vasant More, formerly with the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), re-entered the Sena fold on Tuesday along with his supporters.

The 49-year-old Mr. More had unsuccessfully contested the Pune seat in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election on a VBA ticket after quitting Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

Despite Mr. More being touted as a formidable ‘third challenger’ in the Pune Lok Sabha fray, he came a cropper in the final run, winning just over 32,000 votes and losing heavily to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) Murlidhar Mohol who eventually won the seat.

Now, ahead of the Assembly election, Mr. More again switched colours by joining the Sena (UBT) in the presence of Mr. Thackeray, Sanjay Raut and other leaders at the Thackeray residence ‘Matoshree’ in Mumbai in what turned to be a homecoming of sorts as Mr. More had commenced his political career as a dyed-in-wool (undivided) Shiv Sena leader.

Welcoming him, Mr. Thackeray said that Mr. More would now have the responsibility of strengthening the Sena (UBT)’s presence in Pune district and expected Mr. More’s adhesion to increase the Sena (UBT)’s numbers by twofold in the district.

Pune leader Vasant More joined the Shiv Sena (UBT) in the presence of Uddhav Thackeray at Matoshree in Mumbai.

Pune leader Vasant More joined the Shiv Sena (UBT) in the presence of Uddhav Thackeray at Matoshree in Mumbai. | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

“You were one of our original Shiv Sainiks. While I would not say that you had lost direction when you joined other parties, I will say that you took that experience [in other parties] to see whether one got more respect by remaining outside the Sena. Today, your responsibility with us is even greater,” Mr. Thackeray said, remarking. “I want a bigger Shiv Sena in Pune ahead of the Assembly election.”

Mr. Thackeray further said that the Sena (UBT), which had won nine (of the 21 seats it contested) in the Lok Sabha election, had acted as “a preserver of Constitution and democracy” in the election.

Remarking that the forthcoming Assembly election “will be a battle for Maharashtra’s pride”, the Sena (UBT) chief said that Pune would be the “nerve-centre of change” in the State.

Also Read | For Muslims in Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray’s Sena emerges as ‘right choice’

The undivided Shiv Sena’s best performance in Pune district in an Assembly election came in 1995 when the party won five of the 18 seats in the district.

Now, Mr. More’s adhesion to the Sena (UBT) is expected to bolster the party’s presence in areas like Khadakwasla.

Mr. More had achieved political success as a notable leader of the Raj Thackeray-led MNS from Pune since that party’s inception in 2006.

His friction with MNS chief Raj Thackeray (Uddhav’s estranged cousin) began in 2022, when the latter dismissed him from the post of Pune MNS city president after Mr. More had objected to Mr. Thackeray’s provocative speech demanding the removal of loudspeakers from mosques and countering the Azaan with the Hanuman Chalisa.

A three-term corporator in the Pune civic body, Mr. More is said to have significant support from the city’s Muslim population in several civic wards.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.