A day after the Shiv Sena-BJP split, speculation is rife whether the warring Thackeray cousins, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and MNS chief Raj Thackeray will join forces to fight the upcoming state elections to be held on October 15.
Minus the BJP, MNS and Sena will for the first time come face to face in the coming elections. The parties – both of which have similar agendas and a coinciding,
mostly Marathi, voter base — are bound to cut into each other’s votes in several constituencies.
The rumours of a patch-up picked up after Sena MP Sanjay Raut said in a TV program that Uddhav had inquired about Raj’s health last week and has been keeping tabs on it.
Both Thackeray brothers are staring at an election that can make or break their political careers. While Uddhav has dared to bear the weight of the Sena, contest all 288 seats and ensure he reaches the winning line first, Raj who faced a major drubbing in the LS polls needs to win seats — at least his existing 13 vidhan sabha seats — to ensure he floats.
According to sources, if the two brothers arrive at an understanding, it could lead to mutual benefit. Without the BJP, Sena is in trouble in 12 municipal bodies where the MNS could come to its aid. In Mumbai corporation, Shiv Sena with its 75 seats can replace BJP, which has 31 corporators, with the MNS (having 28 corporators), and offer it important positions in exchange.
“The reason why both of them split is the issue of leadership and that will remain if the two come together... For Raj to succeed, he will have to be seen as a lone fighter,” political commentator Surendra Jondhale said.
The Sena has also declared, “a wrong message is being circulated claiming MNS and Shiv Sena are fighting the polls together. Sena is going to fight... on its own might.”