A day after the saffron alliance came apart, leaders of both the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena said the option of a ‘synergy’ between the two parties for a few seats was not impossible, though they refused to officially confirm this.
While the MNS has declared another 81 candidates for the polls, it is yet to declare candidates for many other seats, including Sewri, where senior leader Bala Nandgaonkar is said to be unwilling to contest. After the Sena’s split with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), senior MNS leaders, including party chief Raj Thackeray, went into a huddle, to discuss the fast-changing political scenario and the role the party could play.
According to sources, the MNS also had a meeting at Thackeray’s residence on Thursday night, after he presented the long-delayed blueprint. The meeting was purportedly to discuss the developments that had taken place when Raj presented the blueprint. The MNS, sources said, was holding back the forms for the candidates it had named on Thursday, in view of the political realignments.
The recent Lok Sabha polls saw the BJP approach the MNS to not field candidates in certain areas and support Modi. The MNS gave in, only to have been insulted by BJP leaders, including then BJP president Rajnath Singh. After the incident, many in the MNS are wary of the BJP.
An MNS leader, not wishing to be named, said the party hadn’t forgotten the BJP’s slight. “However, Rajsaheb remains an admirer of Narendra Modi and his style of functioning. The two parties also have a common foe in the Shiv Sena. So such an arrangement may not be impossible,” said the leader.
In the BJP camp, many said that such a ‘synergy’ was a convenient option for all. “We may not enter into any alliance with them right now, as it may defeat the whole point of going alone. But there are many seats where the BJP barely exists, as they were Sena strongholds. Backing the MNS in such areas makes perfect sense,” said a BJP leader.