NCP wants Raj Thackeray on-board for mega alliance, Congress not keen

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Mumbai (HT): Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha and state assembly elections, there’s a mega alliance of opposition parties in the making and one of its two main players, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), is keen on getting the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on board.
Leaders from the NCP feel that by getting MNS on its side, the opposition coalition could impact results of around 25 assembly seats by splitting votes in the urban areas of the state, especially if the ruling saffron parties Shiv Sena and the BJP contest together. This includes assembly seats in Mumbai where Congress’ strength is depleted and NCP has a limited presence.
However, senior state Congress leaders opposed this move as it is worried that the induction of MNS into the fold would alienate their North Indian vote bank.
The Congress and NCP had declared a pre-poll alliance for the elections and are trying to bring in 10 other like-minded parties to form a mega alliance against the ruling combine. In a meeting held on September 26, NCP leader Nawab Malik proposed the idea of taking MNS into the fold.
“We are willing to share seats with MNS from our quota. The party is mulling to give seven assembly seats to MNS in Mumbai. We have also proposed to give the North Mumbai Lok Sabha seat to MNS against sitting BJP MP Gopal Shetty,” the leader said.
“Political parties should unite to make Modi-mukt Bharat a reality,” said MNS spokesperson Sandeep Deshpande.
“Our ideology is different from MNS. They don’t follow the law of the land and they resort to violence in their politics thus NCP’s proposal was opposed at the state and central level,” said Mumbai Congress president, Sanjay Nirupam, to a news channel.
The Congress is worried that the move may upset the north Indian community in Mumbai as well as in north India, especially in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar considering the violent protests against them by MNS over its ‘son-of-soil’ stand.

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