Raj Thackeray’s MNS may give Lok Sabha polls a miss for a better deal in Assembly polls

Raj-Thackeray-Yogen Shah

Will Raj Thackeray bow out to Narendra Modi in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra? That’s the question on everyone’s mind currently, with the buzz being, that the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) May not contest the upcoming national elections in order to prevent any vote cutting.

The BJP, which is in an alliance with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, has been worried that the MNS would steal away vote-share from them, leading to a victory of the Congress party here. Both the Shiv Sena and the MNS have in the past stood on the same electoral plank of fighting the cause of the Marathi Manoos and for the greater Marathi Asmita (pride).

In the 2009 national elections, the MNS had played a rather big vote spoiler. In Mumbai North East for instance, where the BJP candidate had lost his seat by only a few thousand votes while the MNS candidate had polled nearly 2 lac votes! In the South Mumbai constituency too, Congress MP Milind Deora won due to the division of votes between the Shiv Sena and the MNS.

The Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray though has been rather unhappy of the overtures being made by their alliance partner (BJP) with the MNS. In a Saamna editorial on Tuesday the party leader wrote, “There is a big gap in communication within the BJP, created by those praising Congress and NCP leaders”

While many in the MNS are against the idea of MNS not contesting the election and giving silent support to their arch-nemesis the Shiv Sena. But the idea of gaining large support from the NDA for the assembly polls later this year is what may attract Raj Thackeray to make that final decision to support Modi.