Mumbai, Mar 12: With Sharad Sonawane, the lone Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) MLA from Junnar in Pune, has defected to the Shiv Sena, the firebrand leader Raj Thackeray’s strength has weaned further.
It was a big setback for MNS during its 11th anniversary. The MNS was once seen as a kingmaker is now a minor irritant in the state’s politics. With the lone MLA shifted the loyalty, Party’s very existence has been called into question and Political analysts blame party chief Raj Thackeray.
Sharad Sonawane joined the Shiv Sena in presence of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai. Sonawane was upset with the functioning of MNS for the past few months. According to Sena leaders, Sonawane had met Thackeray last week to inform him about the plan to come into the Sena-fold. Sonawane was earlier with the Sena, but joined the MNS before the 2014 Assembly elections. His entry assumes significance, as the party faces a tough contest to retain its Lok Sabha seats in Pune district – Shirur and Maval.
Sources in Sena said that there has been opposition from local leaders against Sonawane’s return into the party fold. Meanwhile, the MNS, which has been trying to be part of the Congress-led grand alliance in Maharashtra, has not yet announced its plan to contest the Lok Sabha polls.
Sources said that while the NCP is keen on having Raj Thackeray on board as part of a grand alliance, the Congress is opposed to it. Raj Thackeray is likely to announce its decision soon, a MNS leader said. (UNI)