Mumbai: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) put an end to speculations if it will contest or not in the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections. The MNS has decided to contest on 80- 100 seats.

The decision was taken after MNS leaders and elections workers requested party president Raj Thackeray. They told the MNS chief that it was necessary to keep the party alive and would boost the morale of the cadres.

MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar met wannabe election candidates from all the constituencies in Mumbai on Friday. He asked their opinion, on whether the party should fight the elections or not. After meeting the aspirants, Nandgaonkar said, “The aspirants are positive and want to fight the elections.” He added that a report will be sent to the party president. The final decision will be taken by Mr Raj Thackery on how many seats the party will contest.

According to sources, the MNS may contest seats in Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan, Dombivali, Nashik, Pune and Marathwada. It is said that these regions are said to have a sizeable number of MNS voters.

Party sources said that a few top leaders advised Mr Raj Thackeray to not contest the assembly polls. They told him that if they fail to gather a specific percentage of votes, they may lose their party symbol.

However, with pressure mounting from other leaders and workers made Mr Raj re-think his decision. The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party have already sealed their seat-sharing pact. The MNS will have no alliance in the Assembly election.

Earlier, Mr Raj Thackeray had called for a boycott of the assembly polls. He wanted the election commission to conduct the assembly polls using ballot paper instead of EVMs. It was Mr Raj Thackeray who had openly questioned about the EVMs. In fact, in the past he also met NCP chief Sharad Pawar and other opposition leaders with the idea of boycotting the assembly polls, alleging that the EVMs were there to favour the BJP. Although none of the opposition parties agreed.

The MNS did not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha election, but Mr Raj Thackeray campaigned against the BJP in the state. However, it had no impact on the BJP in the general elections.

Abhishek Pandey

Abhishek Pandey is currently working as a freelancer. He has worked with many media houses such as Tiranga TV, ANI News Agency and News24 as a Correspondent/Reporter. In the past 3.5 years, he had done various stories in Crime, Politics, Sports, Business and General Stories.

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