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PLACE SPEECH OF RAJ THACKERAY FIRST – THEN HEADLINE – NCP SUPREMO SHARAD PAWAR CHALLENGES MNS TO FIGHT ALL STATE SEATS BEFORE MAKING TALL CLAIMS

Responding to MNS chief Raj Thackeray’s assertion that the MNS will decide the next Maharashtra Chief Minister, NCP President and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar told the MNS to first contest all 288 seats and then make tall claims. Staying away from the verbal duel between cousins Raj and Uddhav Thackeray, the NCP chief said no one should make tall claims on the basis of the results of the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections. Sharad Pawar said the party would face the upcoming assembly polls slated for September 2009 with a clean slate. He agreed that some mistakes were committed while contesting the recent Lok Sabha elections but they would be avoided next time. For the first time, he accepted that over-confidence was primarily responsible for the party’s poor performance. However, he pointed out that the Congress, which won 17 out of 48 LS seats in Maharashtra, secured only 40,000 more votes than the NCP in the state. The Congress got 71.69 lakh votes, while NCP’s tally was 71.29 lakh. Sharad Pawar who got a severe drubbing during the LS polls has not been slighted by the Congress high command. He has been allocated all the portfolios he held in the last cabinet and has also retained his top position in the new cabinet. It may be recalled that in a recent address post the Lok Sabha elections, Raj Thackeray had boasted that the MNS would decide who will be the next CM of Maharashtra. Responding to MNS chief Raj Thackeray’s assertion that the MNS will decide the next Maharashtra Chief Minister, NCP President and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar told the MNS to first contest all 288 seats and then make tall claims. According to NCP sources, Sharad Pawar is aware that the MNS is not merely a threat to the Sena-BJP alliance and he also fears that if it spreads to rural parts of the state, it could do more damage to the NCP than the Congress. Sharad Pawar will now spend more time in the state to galvanize the NCP setup to face the assembly elections. Bureau report – NMTV News.

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