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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, May 12, 2013
A month after Shiv Sena and BJP helped the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) win the Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) election, the MNS returned the favour by helping the parties bag the posts of mayor and deputy mayor in the Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC). The MNS remained neutral in the Kalyan mayoral elections, paving the way for Kalyani Patil of the Sena to bag the mayor’s post. The deputy Mayor’s post was won by Rahul Damle of the BJP. Patil bagged 47 votes and defeated Congress candidate Vandani Gidh by 27 votes. The MNS, which has 27 members, remained neutral, which ensured Patil’s victory in this crucial election.

According to MNS leader Sudhir Jadhav, who oversaw the elections, the MNS deliberately abstained from voting. “We are an independent party and are not happy with either of the factions,” said Jadhav. He said the MNS remained neutral as it did not want to ally with any of the two parties. However, observers say that the party was only repaying Shiv Sena and BJP for their support in the NMC elections.

“We had a clear cut pact to support each other,” said a Sena leader who did not wish to comment.

In April, the Sena and the BJP had supported the MNS standing committee chairman Ramesh Dhongade and got him elected in the Nashik municipal corporations standing committee.

While  Uddhav Thackeray was keen on forging an alliance with MNS, Raj Thackeray dismissed the idea saying that he could form a government alone.