The Shiv Sena has ruled out any alliance with the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray indicated he was not keen on any rapprochement with estranged cousin Raj Thackeray.
A day after MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar went to Matoshree (Uddhav’s residence) seeking an alliance, the Sena chief said: “I have not received any proposal. Anyway, the Sena is all prepared to go solo and we will win across Maharashtra.”
Uddhav did not entertain phone calls made by Raj seeking an alliance, Nandgaonkar said.
The MNS leader, on Sunday, was not granted an audience by Uddhav and hence he had to be content meeting Sena leaders like Anil Desai, to whom he proposed an informal alliance.
The aim, Nandgaonkar said, was to avoid division of Maharashtrian votes, thus preventing the BJP from gaining an upper hand.
The proposal would include the MNS not fielding any candidates in constituencies where the Sena was strong and in return, the Sena would not field any candidates that had sitting MNS corporators. In case of the contentious Dadar-Mahim belt, there would be friendly fights and the strongest would win.
Nandgaonkar now has assailed the Sena for its rebuff and said he had indeed submitted the proposal to the Sena. “There was an overwhelming sentiment that the two parties should come together for the sake of Maharashtra. We had imposed no conditions and would have agreed to any seats left by the Sena. This would have immensely benefitted the Sena,” said Nandgaonkar. He appealed to the Sena to reconsider its decision, saying there was still enough time.
A similar situation arose during the 2014 assembly elections, when the BJP broke ties with the Sena. At that time, the Sena did take initiative, making Raj believe an alliance proposal was in the offing. However, Uddhav cut all communication, thus angering Raj.
Currently, the MNS is in a bad shape, hit by both large-scale defections, the cash crunch as well as low morale among the workers. With the BJP launching an all-out attack on the Sena, Raj hoped to capitalise on it and woo the Sena.