Suspense continues over Raj Thackeray’s MNS joining NDA-BJP camp

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | March 19, 2024 IST

Suspense continues over Raj Thackeray’s MNS joining NDA-BJP camp

Mumbai/New Delhi, March 19:Suspense continued over the likelihood of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) joining hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

MNS President Raj Thackeray and his son Amit R. Thackeray went to Delhi to meet with the BJP top brass on Tuesday, where they held a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah ostensibly to seal an alliance deal, marking a new twist in Maharashtra politics.

Senior MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar said on Tuesday evening that “they had a very cordial meeting and discussed many things”.

“There may be another meeting soon in Mumbai with other BJP leaders… Thereafter, a final decision will be taken in the next one or two days. That’s all I can say for now,” Nandgaonkar said in Mumbai.

Earlier, MNS chief spokesperson Sandeep Deshpande said that “whatever Raj Thackeray decides, it will be in the interest of the party and the state”.

On the other hand, Nationalist Congress Party (SP) Working President Supriya Sule said that in case the MNS opts to join the national opposition INDIA bloc, it will be “welcomed and accorded dignity”, adding to the suspense on Raj Thackeray’s political manoeuvres.

In a brief banter with the mediapersons before the meeting with Amit Shah, Raj Thackeray kept up the mystery saying, "I have no idea... I was only told to come... I don't know of any meetings."

The political movements came barely hours after Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde declared that the MahYuti and the 18-year-old MNS are on the same page as far as Hindutva is concerned, and an appropriate decision would be taken on including the MNS in the NDA fold.

Nationalist Congress Party Minister Chhagan Bhujbal diplomatically said the MNS -- currently having one MLA and influence in certain pockets -- would be welcomed if it joins the NDA-MahaYuti alliance.

Commenting on the goings-on, ex-CM and Shiv Sena (UBT) President Uddhav Thackeray said “the BJP is attempting to hijack another Thackeray family member” as it cannot seek votes in Maharashtra without the name of Balasaheb Thackeray.

Prominent opposition leaders like Atul Londe (Congress), Supriya Sule, Jitendra Awhad, Rohit R. Pawar, Clyde Crasto (NCP-SP), and Kishore Tiwari (SS-UBT) have given strong reactions, some referring to the MNS’ perceived anti-North Indian stance and other issues.

SS (UBT) chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut dismissively said that MNS' entry into the NDA "will not have any political impact" in the state.

MahaYuti alliance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said that if the MNS decides to join hands with the BJP, “it will be in the interest of Hindutva, the state, and the country”.

Addressing a party event last week, Raj Thackeray -- the estranged cousin of Uddhav Thackeray -- dropped broad hints of plunging into the LS polls. He is slated to discuss the issue with his party leaders on Thursday (March 21).

At the same time, Raj Thackeray also emphasised the party’s staunch Hindutva credentials plus a committed cadre base, though there have been internal rumblings that the MNS is yet to taste ‘real’ power in the 18 years of its existence.

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