MNS goes solo, but backs Modi

March 09, 2014 01:36 pm | Updated November 16, 2021 06:29 pm IST - Mumbai

Mumbai 09/03/2014   Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray at the Party's 8th anniversary function in Mumbai on February 09, 2014.  Photo:  Vivek Bendre

Mumbai 09/03/2014 Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray at the Party's 8th anniversary function in Mumbai on February 09, 2014. Photo: Vivek Bendre

In a move that could have an impact on the prospects of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in Maharashtra, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), headed by Raj Thackeray, said on Sunday that the party would contest the Lok Sabha election independently, but would support Narendra Modi for Prime Minister.

“I support Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate. All my MPs will support him in the Lok Sabha,” Mr. Thackeray said at a function marking the eighth anniversary of the party.

Mr. Thackeray’s stand could strain the equation between the BJP and its alliance partner, the Shiv Sena, a rival of the MNS. Earlier, former BJP president Nitin Gadkari had met Mr. Thackeray and asked him not to contest the elections.

The first list of candidates released by Mr. Thackeray showed that the MNS would field six candidates against the Shiv Sena and only one against the BJP. In the 2009 elections, the MNS played spoiler for the Shiv Sena-BJP combine. It cut into their votes, especially in Mumbai, where the saffron combine lost all six seats to the Congress-NCP front.

The Shiv Sena was not pleased. Its spokesperson Rahul Narvekar said, “The MNS move is an attempt to confuse voters. They will see through these tactics. Whether to include the MNS in the NDA is a decision which should be taken jointly,” he added.

Mr. Thackeray criticised Mr. Modi in January, saying he was too Gujarat-centric and that he should step down as Chief Minister if he wanted to be a prime ministerial candidate.

However, Mr. Gadkari welcomed the MNS stand. “This will not affect our alliance with the Shiv Sena,” he said.

The NCP said the “secret understanding” between the MNS and the BJP could backfire on them. Among the candidates declared by the MNS is actor-director Mahesh Manjrekar, who will contest against sitting Congress MP Gurudas Kamat from Mumbai North West. MLA Bala Nandgaokar will contest against sitting MP Milind Deora from Mumbai South.

In other developments, the BJP complained to the Election Commission against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for linking the RSS with Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.

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 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.