Mumbai, Oct 02 (IANS): Setting at rest all speculation, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has decided to contest independently the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in all 48 seats in the state, a top party leader said here on Monday.
The decision came after a review meeting of all the parliamentary constituencies with top office-bearers held by MNS President Raj Thackeray on Monday, said senior leader Nitin Sardesai.
However, the party also authorised Raj Thackeray – estranged cousin of Shiv Sena (UBT) President and ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray – to take decisions pertaining to joining any alliance or group in the future.
The move came after a report from key leaders who have toured various Lok Sabha constituencies in the past few weeks, meeting with local units, workers and leaders and the people.
In the constituency-wise review meetings of a few important seats, the available feedback has indicated that the strength of the MNS - founded in 2006 - has grown, said Sardesai.
Other leaders pointed out that the MNS had been mentally preparing to go alone in the Lok Sabha elections, and after Monday’s deliberations, the party has moved closer to that possibility.
Another leader claimed that the people of the state were viewing Raj Thackeray as the next CM and the party would make all efforts to further strengthen its base in urban and rural centres.
Since the past few years, there was suspense on the MNS’ political stance, as Raj Thackeray was seen as hobnobbing with leaders of the ruling Shiv Sena, Bharatiya Janata Party and others.
In fact, as recently as last week, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis and other leaders from different parties visited Raj Thackeray’s home for darshan of Lord Ganesha during the Ganeshotsav festival.