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‘Ready to back Sena-BJP bloc’

mumbai Updated: Sep 19, 2009 01:18 IST
Naresh Kamath
Naresh Kamath
Hindustan Times
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Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has said he is not averse to supporting the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance if they were in a position to form the government and were short of numbers.

But only if they accept his conditions.

Thackeray, who is locked in a bitter tussle with the Sena since he quit the party in 2005, was talking to journalists at a meet-the-press event on Friday. He said he was open to forging a post-poll alliance with the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party combine or the Sena-BJP alliance if either of the combines fails to secure a sweeping majority in the October 13 polls.

“Whoever supports my agenda and agrees to my conditions will get my support,” Thackeray said. “But my legislators will not be up for sale.”

His statement assumes significance in the wake of Sena’s attempts to control the damage caused by the MNS’s hardline Marathi agenda. The MNS candidates got a big chunk of Sena’s middle class Maharashtrian votes in the Lok Sabha eletions.

It cost the saffron combine all six Parliamentary seats in Mumbai and in Thane and Nashik. Since then, the Sena has begun a campaign that the MNS is aiding the Congress.

Analysts believe Thackeray’s statement was a way to counter his estranged cousin Uddhav Thackeray’s campaign that the MNS was splitting Marathi votes. The Sena refused to comment on Thackeray's statement. “Why should we give a comment? No reaction is our only reaction,” Sena legislator and party spokesperson Subhash Desai said.

His colleague, Sanjay Raut added, “The Sena-BJP alliance is confident of its victory.”

Thackeray, however, said that the MNS would not be a part of the new government because he did not wish to take the blame for its failures.

He said he would wait until he gets the mandate to rule the state. “I want full control of the administration.”