Struggling for political space, the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has knocked on the doors of the Shiv Sena for a tactical adjustment in the upcoming civic polls in Maharashtra, but any truck between the two is unlikely to fructify with the latter showing little interest in it.
Terming it a “political move,” MNS sources said, “efforts are being made” to cosy up with Sena, which is gearing up to battle it out with the BJP after deciding against a pre-poll pact.
But, the Sena has shown no serious interest in the MNS proposal.
“We are fully ready for the polls. Unfortunately, we have to battle the BJP. Uddhav ji has made it clear that he will not seek anybody’s support or alliance. If anybody wants to support us, we will consider it sympathetically. However, seat-sharing or any tactical understanding is ruled out,” Sena sources said.
MNS sources, however, indicated that the party has not given up all hopes.
Fuelling speculations of a covert understanding in the form of seat adjustment between the two parties, MNS’s former legislator Bala Nandgoankar had gone to the Shiv Sena chief’s residence. Though he could not meet Uddhav, he handed over a letter containing the party’s proposal.
Sena sources said the party chief has virtually spurned the overtures from the MNS.
The MNS, an offshoot of the Shiv Sena which had bagged 111 seats in urban civic bodies in 2012, is now finding itself alone.
According to political observers, the MNS is suffering from some sort of “trust deficit” and “credibility crisis,” a perception its leaders and functionaries refuse to share.
Five years ago, the MNS, riding on Raj’s charisma and “anti-north Indian immigrant” agenda, had bagged 28 seats in Mumbai corporation, seven in Thane, 29 in Pune, four in Pimpri-Chinchwad, two in Nagpur and one in Akola.
In Nashik, it cornered 40 seats and stormed to power, and got its candidate elected as mayor with the NCP’s support.
Raj had supported the Sena in the mayoral election in Mumbai and expected the gesture to be reciprocated in Nashik. But his estranged cousin Uddhav did not yield.
Party insiders say majority of the 111 corporators as well as former MLAs have switched sides either to the Sena or BJP.