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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

NCP-MNS alliance in Maharashtra on the cards?

NCP insiders said they are in favour of taking the MNS along.

mumbai Updated: Jul 30, 2019 00:35 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
State NCP president Jayant Patil held a meeting with MNS chief Raj Thackeray in Mumbai on Monday.
State NCP president Jayant Patil held a meeting with MNS chief Raj Thackeray in Mumbai on Monday.(HT File)
         

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is struggling to keep its flock together, began talks with Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) for alliance in the upcoming state polls on Monday.

State NCP president Jayant Patil held a meeting with MNS chief Raj Thackeray in Mumbai on Monday. Peasants and Workers Party of India (PWP) leader Jayant Patil and Swabhimani Paksha leader Raju Shetti were also present at the meeting that was held at the state NCP chief’s Napean Sea Road residence. “What transpired in the meeting will be declared very soon,” Patil said. “We had informal talks on the alliance, as we want to bring all parties that are against the BJP and Shiv Sena together,” said a senior leader.

NCP insiders said they are in favour of taking the MNS along. “Our stand was the same during the recent Lok Sabha elections. It was the Congress that had opposed the move,” he said.

A section of NCP leaders believe MNS’s support will make the Opposition strong in urban areas such as Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivli, Pune and Nashik. “There are some 25 Assembly seats, where the MNS will have a direct impact,” said a senior NCP leader.

PWP leader Jayant Patil said the meeting was on the issue of electronic voting machine (EVM). “We want ballot paper back for the elections,” the PWP leader said.

Raju Shetti recently said his party would go solo in the upcoming state Assembly elections, if Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) and Raj Thackeray’s MNS were not taken on board in the opposition front.

Meanwhile, Thackeray will meet West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee this week, seeking her support for his campaign against the use of EVMs.

Thackeray will reach the state on Tuesday night, and will visit various sites in Kolkata on Wednesday. He will meet the CM on Thursday. “Rajsaheb wants to seek her support for his ‘back to paper ballot’ demand for the Maharashtra Assembly elections. As she is a powerful regional leader, her support will be vital,” said an MNS leader.

First Published: Jul 30, 2019 00:35 IST

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