Six years after it was formed, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) finally got a taste of power on Thursday when its nominee won the mayoral election in the Nashik civic body.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray was keen to secure power in Nashik as he wanted to develop a model to show his voters what he could do if the party was given control.
However, analysts said governance would be a major challenge for the party. Political analyst Prakash Bal said this was the only opportunity before the 2014 assembly polls for Thackeray to prove to his voters that he could do something substantial.
MNS legislator Vasant Gite said that the thrust would be on development. “We will ensure model governance,” Gite said. With the Kumbh Mela scheduled to take place in 2014, providing adequate infrastructure is likely to be a major challenge for the MNS.
The Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC), with a budget in excess of Rs800 crore, has been in news ever since MNS bagged the most number of seats, but fell short of majority.
The BJP, which did not team up with Sena in this city, has played a major role in securing support for the MNS.
A senior BJP leader said the move was influenced by two factors: bringing opposition parties on a common, anti-Congress platform, and the goal of reducing dependency on the Shiv Sena.
For the MNS, pairing with the BJP is important. “On our own, at best, we have nuisance value. But an alliance can bring us to power in many places,” said an MNS leader.