The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena is clearly fighting only the Shiv Sena. The party, which declared its first list of 100 candidates on Monday, has fielded several former Sena workers who quit the party dissatisfied with its functioning.
Sainiks known for their aggressive ways — Shishir Shinde (Bhandup West), Vinod Khopkar (Sion Koliwada), Bala Nandgaonkar (Sewree), Arvind Gawde (Colaba), Satyawan Dalvi (Worli), Dilip Lande (Chandivli) — were picked by MNS chief Raj Thackeray for the October 13 polls.
This will be the three-year-old party’s first assembly election.
Thackeray, who is determined to foil rival Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray’s bid to win power in the state, has planned to contest select seats.
MNS candidates like Sanjay Chitre, Pravin Darekar (Magathane) and Sanjay Jamdar (Worli) are former members of Sena’s students’ wing, the Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena that Raj Thackeray headed.
Thackeray announced that the party would contest 26 of the 36 seats in Mumbai. “I am fielding candidates after a lot of thought and in consultation with local activists,” said the 41-year-old.
Thackeray said that there is no space for disgruntled Sena activists who were planning to join his party after being denied tickets.
“I have not started the party to suit their convenience and I will not offer tickets to such elements,” said Thackeray.
Thackeray will start campaigning from September 25 and will tour the entire state. “It is not possible to cover all the constituencies and I have made this very clear to all the candidates,” he said.
“However, I will send a compact disc of my speech to all candidates.”