Mumbai: Ending days of speculation after Bharatiya Janata Party leader Nitin Gadkari appealed to him not to split the anti-Congress vote, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray on Sunday refused to oblige by announcing his first list of Lok Sabha candidates. Though he maintained that the party will back Narendra Modi for the Prime Minister's post.
"We will field candidates but will support Modi," said the MNS chief.
The BJP has thanked him for extending support to the Gujarat Chief Minister. "We are grateful to Raj Thackeray for what he has said. But in Maharashtra, we already have a strong alliance with the Shiv Sena. I would request Raj Thackeray to consider helping out some of the other NDA candidates as well," Gadkari said.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena has hit out at the MNS. "It is a clever move to confuse voters," said Rahul Narvekar.
The question which arises now is that if Raj Thackeray's move is aimed at damaging the Sena-BJP alliance. It is also to be seen that whether the MNS would end up dividing the Sena-BJP vote and indirectly help the Congress-NCP alliance in Maharashtra.
In 2009 elections, MNS candidates in as many as 10 seats spread across Mumbai, Thane, Bhiwandi and Pune polled about 1 lakh plus votes which was the margin of victory for the Congress-NCP candidates in these seats.