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Gadkari asks MNS not to contest LS polls, Shiv Sena kept in dark


Smitha Nair,CNN-IBN
Mar 03, 2014 at 11:59pm IST

Mumbai: Ahead of the Lok Sabha election, the Bharatiya Janata Party is making every possible move to get more allies and garner as many votes. In a major development, former BJP president Nitin Gadkari and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray met on Monday with the former appealing to the MNS not to contest the Lok Sabha polls. The BJP ally Shiv Sena was, however, believed to be kept in the dark about the meeting.

Gadkari said, "We want to ensure that the Congress-NCP don't benefit from a split in the anti-Congress vote. If the MNS abstains it will help the Shiv Sena candidates. I don't think the Sena is upset."

It was, however, unclear whether the MNS which has demonstrated its intent to focus more on the state Assembly polls scheduled for later this year was seriously considering Gadkari's request to not split the anti-Congress vote.

The 2009 results tweeted by a Narendra Modi supporter showed that the MNS was an X-factor as the party did not won seats but helped the Congress in atleast 10 constituencies.

Spread across Mumbai, Bhiwandi, Thane and Pune, the MNS candidates polled close to 1 lakh or more votes, that essentially was the difference between victory and a defeat for the Congress-NCP and Shiv Sena-BJP candidates.

A possible rapproachement between estranged cousins Uddhav and Raj, many believed would be a game changer in the 2014 elections. While Raj, Gadkari meeting may have caused some disquiet in the Shiv Sena camp, but any kind of understanding with the MNS will benefit the BJP-Sena alliance.

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