Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has been trying hard to revive his political fortunes ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He has been trying to be a part of the Congress, NCP-led Mahagathbandhan in Maharashtra.
NCP had also proposed Raj Thackeray's name during the grand alliance talks with the Congress, but few Congress and Samajwadi Party leaders had objected his party’s inclusion in Mahagathabandhan over his anti-North Indian stand. Despite a few Congress leaders' objection, the MNS chief has not lost hopes of becoming a part of the grand alliance.
Raj Thackeray's son's marriage on 27th January has given an opportunity for him to come close to the Gandhi family. According to a close source of Raj Thackeray, the MNS chief has sent an invitation to the Congress party President for his son’s marriage. MNS claims that it is a family event of their party chief and it has nothing to do with the politics, but sources say that it is a clever move by Raj Thackeray, who wants to form a good relation with the Congress.
What brings them together is the fact that both the parties are against BJP. In fact, Raj Thackeray was the one of the leaders who appealed to all the parties to come together for a ‘Modi Mukt Bharat’.
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has openly admitted that if BJP and Shiv Sena fight alone, then both the parties have to bear the losses. It's a known fact in Maharashtra that there is a hardcore Hindu vote bank which traditionally votes for Sena-BJP combination on the Hindutva agenda. This vote back will be divided if both of them contest the election alone. Division in traditional Hindu vote bank will indirectly help Congress - NCP alliance.
Though Raj Thackeray’s party has not performed well in the polls since 2014, but he still has a charisma to hurt Shiv Sena’s traditional Marathi vote bank. In 2009 Lok Sabha polls, with indirect help of the MNS, Congress-NCP had managed to win 6 Lok Sabha seats in Mumbai. Section of Congress & NCP believes that the support of MNS will help them in winning few seats.
Apart from Rahul Gandhi, Raj Thackeray has also invited Uddhav, Nitin Gadkari, Sharad Pawar & few senior leaders of BJP for his son's wedding.
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