Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has got no love from Maharashtra voters as it won only one out of 101 seats it contested during the 2019 assembly polls. Pramod (Raju) Patil of MNS defeated Shiv Sena’s Ramesh Mahatre by a margin of 7,154 votes on Kalyan (Rural) Assembly seat. The MNS candidate secured 93,927 votes while Shiv Sena leader received 86,770 votes.
It is to be noted that Pramod Patil, who is a senior leader of MNS, is said to be close to Raj Thackeray. The MNS candidate from Kalyan (Rural) seat won with the support of Congress-NCP and Sangharsh Samiti. Sangharsh Samiti has been demanding a separate civic body for several years.
The decision from Raj Thackeray to field candidates in state elections secured a party presence in the lower house. According to the data of Election Commission, MNS bagged a total of 2.25 per cent vote share in Maharashtra.
In many seats in Mumbai, Nashik and Marathwada, MNS stood second. Sandeep Deshpande gave tough fight to BJP-SS alliance in Mahim. Santosh Nalawade in Sewri, Sandeep Jalgaonkar in Bhandup West, Harshala Chavan in Mulund among others are some of the MNS candidates that gave their opponents a tough fight.
“The party would have performed better if the decision to contest had been taken earlier. The party was hoping to win 4-5 seats,” the Times Of India quoted an MNS office-bearer as saying.
Interestingly, the setback for the MNS comes after Raj Thackeray had declared his decision not to contest the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls. However, he had campaigned against the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance. During this assembly elections too, Thackeray had decided to corner the Fadnavis led state government, a strategy which has not paid off.
Importantly, the MNS had made its poll debut in 2009.