The MNS had tasted electoral success by winning 13 Assembly constituencies in 2009 but was reduced to a single seat in 2014.
Mumbai: The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has announced that it will not contest the upcoming Lok Sabha (LS) polls in the state.
A statement issued by MNS leader Shirish Sawant made the announcement, stating: “The MNS will not contest Lok Sabha General Elections 2019. We will talk more on March 19 (sic).”
At the party’s anniversary event held on March 9, Mr Thackeray had said that a decision with regard to contesting the LS polls would be taken at the appropriate time. “The decision will be in the interest of the party and the country,” he had said.
According to sources, the ‘think tank’ of the party has advised Mr Thackeray to stay away from LS polls and focus on state Assembly polls, which are to be held later in the year instead. “We do not have party leaders and a cadre in several constituencies. If we contested LS polls, we would defiantly lose with a huge difference. The party will lose its credibility, which will affect us in the Assembly polls,” said the MNS insider.
“By not contesting the LS polls, we will keep the bargaining power with the alliance partners during the assembly polls,” he added.
MNS’ decision has come after the NCP has announced its candidates for the Kalyan and Mumbai North East seats last week. The NCP had tried to include the MNS in the Opposition alliance by offering one of these two seats. But the plans had to be put on hold following opposition from the Congress.
According to party insiders, the MNS has decided to support the NCP in the LS polls. For this, Mr Thackeray is expected to address a public rally at Khed in Raigad district in favour of NCP candidate Sunil Tatkare. The dates are yet to be finalised.
In the past, the MNS had tasted electoral success by winning 13 Assembly constituencies in 2009 but was reduced to a single seat in 2014.
In the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation too, the party won only 7 seats in the civic polls held in 2017. But its six corporators later decided to switch their loyalties to Shiv Sena, further diminishing the party.