MNS will contest 2019 Maharashtra Assembly Elections: Raj Thackeray

MNS will contest 2019 Maharashtra Assembly Elections: Raj Thackeray
According to party sources, the MNS may contest around 125 seats and emerge as the ‘kingmaker’ if the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena or opposition Congress-NCP fail to win a clear majority

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which gave the Lok Sabha elections a miss earlier this year, will contest the October 21 state assembly elections, party President Raj Thackeray announced on Monday.

“We will contest the Assembly elections and shall also win… The candidates and the seats on which we shall contest will be announced in the next couple of days,” Thackeray announced during a meeting of party officials today.

According to party sources, MNS may contest on around 125 seats. The 288-member Maharashtra Assembly will go to the polls on October 21 and the results will be declared on October 24.

For now, Thackeray has not declared if the MNS will enter into any tie-ups or form alliances with other parties. However, its leaders are confident that the party will win enough seats to emerge as ‘king-maker’ in case the two main factions fail to get the majority.

At present, the frontrunners in the Maharashtra polls are the ruling combine of BJP-Shiv Sena – who are yet to formally announce their pre-poll alliance – and the opposition front of Congress-NCP.

While the MNS did not contest the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year, party chief Raj Thackeray had held a slew of rallies against the ruling NDA.

The rallies attracted large crowds and garnered massive news coverage. However, they did little to dent the NDA’s image, which managed to win an even bigger victory that the 2014 elections.

Interestingly, Raj Thackeray had announced his intention to contest the state assembly elections back in 2014 but later decided against it.

Although he hasn’t hinted at contesting this time around, his nephew Aaditya, son of cousin and Shiv Sena President Uddhav, is set to become the first member of the Thackeray clan ever to contest an election.

On the personal front, Thackeray was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in August for questioning in an alleged case of financial irregularities in one of his business ventures, along with his other partners.

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