pawar1Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar’s suggestion to Raj Thackeray led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) to contest all 288 state legislative assembly seats is being considered part of Pawar’s game plan to further divide the Shiv Sena-BJP support base in the state. Shiv Sena-BJP has taken serious note of Pawar’s comment that if the MNS contests all the 288 assembly seats, there will be “political stability” in Maharashtra. Pawar was implying that the Congress-NCP will be in a position to get an absolute majority in a 288-member House as the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance will trail far behind due to the vote division by the MNS. The MNS is furious with Pawar’s remarks. A senior party functionary said that “the NCP should mind its own business and stop provoking Raj Thackeray.” Another party office-bearer said that the MNS has now decided to contest all 288 seats. The damage done by the MNS, during the Lok Sabha elections, to the Shiv Sena-BJP support base in the state has made the MNS happy. According to NCP officials, along with the Sena, the MNS has also hit the BJP support base in the state. “If the MNS is allowed to enter rural areas, then it will emerge as a rallying point for anti-establishment votes and even damage us,” said an NCP member. Bureau Report

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