Barely six years into its formation, Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena is a hair’s breadth away from occupying the treasury benches for the first time.
The party has increased its tally by 300% in the Mumbai, Pune and Nashik civic polls held on February 16, and has emerged the largest in Nashik, where it now hopes to come to power with the help of the BJP.
“The next mayor of Nashik will be from the MNS. We have initiated talks with the local BJP unit for an alliance,” said Vasant Gite, MNS MLA from Nashik.
The MNS has won 40 seats, up from 12 in 2007, and needs 22 more to lead the 122-member hung house. The BJP, which fought independently of the Shiv Sena, has 14 seats.
The BJP, though non-committal, has not ruled out an alliance. “Our party will discuss the issue. We will also have to take our alliance partner Sena into confidence,” senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse said.
Thackeray, too, appeared tight-lipped. “I am not in a hurry to stake claim to power. We will take a decision after I visit Nashik on Sunday,” he said.