Raj Thackeray: MNS will contest BMC elections

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Mumbai, Feb 1: Ending the speculation that his party might not contest the Mumbai civic body elections, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray this evening announced that his party would contest the municipal corporation elections in the state including in Mumbai.

Raj Thackeray

Yesterday, Shiv Sena, from which Raj split up a decade ago to form his own party, had spurned his offer of tie-up. Addressing the party workers, Raj alleged that the ruling BJP wanted to separate Mumbai from Maharashtra. He also alleged that though Shiv Sena and BJP were contesting the BMC elections separately, they would come together post-polls. He sought votes for "saving Mumbai for Marathi people".

"I had made an offer to Shiv Sena only to protect the interests of Marathi people in this city. But the party is playing a double game by contesting the local elections on its own but sharing power (with BJP) at the Centre and the state. "I think BJP and Shiv Sena are enacting a drama of contesting BMC elections separately and will form an alliance after the results," Raj said.

Similar drama was seen in last year's Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation elections, where both the parties came together after the polls to share the power, he said. "I have been fighting for the cause of Marathi people and that is why I am targeted. If needed, I am ready to kowtow to anybody in the interests of Marathi people," he said.

"Shiv Sena does not want to lose the Mayor's bungalow, which has been identified as location for the memorial of the late Balasaheb Thackeray. The party fears if it separates from BJP in the state, the latter may sit on the memorial proposal. My intention behind joining hands with Shiv Sena was clear and it was to oppose BJP," Raj Thackeray said.

BJP nursed secret plans to separate Mumbai from Maharashtra, and Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train proposal was a part of this conspiracy, he said, adding that the conspiracy would materialise if the people in the city did not oppose it.

PTI

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