The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s (MNS) downhill slide continues. After Nashik, it was Jalgaon, where the party’s top leaders resigned on Wednesday.
Lalit Kolhe, the party’s district head, resigned from his post along with many other party functionaries, claiming they had the backing of all the 12 party corporators in the city.
The breakaway group is now trying to float an independent outfit with the party’s corporators, and anoint one of its own as the city’s mayor. The dissident leaders are now planning their next move, which could involve joining forces with the BJP.
Local leaders said they resigned because of the complete lack of support from the top MNS leadership.
Chandan Kolhe, Lalit’s brother and city MNS chief, said, “We have almost single-handedly built the party in Jalgaon without much help from the top brass. Our defeat in the state polls has left us shocked. This step has come after much introspection.”
However, sources said that the tipping point for the local leadership was party chief Raj Thackeray’s cancellation of a planned rally in Jalgaon. “We raised funds and booked the venue for three days, after Thackeray’s close aides told us that he will be holding a rally, even giving us a tentative date. But without any consultation, he cancelled the rally. This sent a wrong message to the constituency, and we lost,” said a Jalgaon party leader.
If sources are to be believed, the leader is already in talks with BJP strongman and revenue minister Eknath Khadse.
“We have held preliminary talks with Khadse and will be meeting him soon. We haven’t yet taken a call on our plan of action,” said Chandan.
With the mayoral elections coming up in six months, the dissidents are planning to resign from the party and float a separate front, which will try and cobble up an alliance with the BJP and NCP’s support and overthrow the current party in power, Khandesh Vikas Aghadi, formed by Sena leader Suresh Jain.
“This is a very realistic option for us and we are working towards it,” said a local MNS leader.