iconimg Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sayli Udas Mankikar, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, April 21, 2014
Barely 24 hours after Congress vice- president Rahul Gandhi addressed a crowd at Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex on Sunday, BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will be sharing space with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at the same spot on Monday evening. This is the first time the two leaders from the Mahayuti alliance will be seen together, addressing a crowd that will be a mix of BJP and Sena enthusiasts.

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This is also the last rally the two are addressing together before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls get over in Maharashtra.

Modi is scheduled to address two rallies in Maharashtra on Monday – the first at Bhiwandi in the after noon, while Thackeray will be attending one at Kalyan before they both go to BKC.

All six Mumbai constituencies will be going to the polls on April 24 and the BJP and Shiv Sena, who won not one because of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in 2009, are hoping to change that.

The MNS had contested 12 seats in 2009 and polled over a lakh votes in 9 of the constituencies; the damage was mostly to Sena-BJP candidates.

This time, the MNS is contesting 10 seats in Maharashtra, 8 against Sena candidates - including all 3 of its Mumbai candidates - and 2 against the BJP.

While the BJP hopes the Modi magic works for its candidates, the Shiv Sena hopes Modi will say something against MNS chief Raj Thackeray who has offered him unconditional support. “Uddhavji is hoping that Modiji says something about the MNS issue in the Monday rally. This will prevent Modi supporters from voting for MNS and dividing votes,” a Sena leader said.