Shiv Sena rebuffs alliance proposal from MNS

Written by: IANS
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Mumbai, Jan 30: The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena on Monday said the Shiv Sena has rebuffed its proposal for an alliance for next month's civic elections in Mumbai.

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Senior MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar said he personally went to Sena President Uddhav Thackeray's Bandra residence 'Matoshri' on Sunday with a proposal and submitted it to his team comprising Anil Desai, Rahul Shewale, Anil Parab, Subhash Desai and others.

"They assured me it would be conveyed to their party chief," said Nandgaonkar, who is a close confidant of Raj Thackeray and enjoys a good rapport with Uddhav Thackeray. When asked about the MNS proposal on Monday afternoon, Uddhav denied outright about having received any such communication from his estranged cousin.

"We have not received any proposal from any party... We have decided to fight on our own strength across Maharashtra," Uddhav said dismissively. Responding to this, Nandgaonkar glumly said: "If they are saying this, then I may be a liar." Elaborating, he revealed that in the past eight days, Raj called up Uddhav seven times since January 22.

He followed it up by personally submitting an "unconditional alliance" proposal "in the interest of Mumbai" and since everybody desires the two warring cousins should come together again. Significantly, the MNS overtures started four days before Uddhav Thackeray on January 26 unilaterally snapped the 25-year-old ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party for the upcoming civic elections, though it continues to be partner in the state government and at the Centre.

"Raj Thackeray made the gesture as 'a younger brother' and since he had made a commitment to the late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray," Nandgaonkar said. Describing Uddhav as "a nice person", he admitted that though Uddhav was at home, he could not meet him (Uddhav), otherwise the situation would have been completely different. Saying "we are hopeful," Nandgaonkar pointed out that there is still time left and urged Uddhav to at least consider the MNS proposal, instead of summarily rejecting it.

MNS corporator Sandeep Deshpande said an alliance could greatly benefit the Shiv Sena as it would prevent division of Marathi votes and in a municipal corporation elections, even a couple of hundred votes could make or mar the candidate's prospects. Plagued with desertions of its legislators and corporators across the state, the MNS is fighting a battle for sheer survival while the Shiv Sena is attempting to establish its supremacy over rivals by going alone in the state.

IANS

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