‘MNS not in fray for bypoll in Khadakwasla’ | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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‘MNS not in fray for bypoll in Khadakwasla’

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray said he will not field any candidate for the Khadakwasla assembly by-election, fuelling speculations that Thackeray and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are finding common ground in the run up to state elections. Satyajit Joshi reports.

mumbai Updated: Sep 22, 2011 00:24 IST
Satyajit Joshi

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray said he will not field any candidate for the Khadakwasla assembly by-election, fuelling speculations that Thackeray and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are finding common ground in the run up to state elections.

On Wednesday, Thackeray announced that no MNS candidate will be in the fray for the seat occupied by Ramesh Wanjle, the MNS MLA representing Khadakwasla, who died of a heart attack in June. He also categorically denied support to the BJP, which will contest from the Khadakwasla constituency.

Wanjle’s widow, Harshada, who is a zilla parishad member of the Congress, will be contesting as a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate. Both, the NCP and MNS had offered Harshada a ticket from Khadakwasla assembly but with Harshada opting for the NCP, MNS has brought the issue to a close.

Thackeray criticised Wanjle’s family and the NCP leadership for following unethical practices. “Ramesh Wanjle was denied a ticket by the NCP for his image. Now, the same party is fielding his wife. Both should think about what they are doing,” Raj said.

Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar had denied Wanjle a ticket in the 2009 assembly elections because of the latter’s penchant for gold, which Pawar thought would not go down well with middle-class urban voters.

This decision, however, is seen as a strong indicator of Raj Thackeray’s growing closeness to the BJP.