In an unprecedented political development, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray met Congress parliamentary party leader and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi at 10 Janpath in Delhi on July 8, sparking speculations over an alleged alliance ahead of the Assembly elections in Maharashtra which are scheduled to take place later this year.
As per reports, the two leaders also discussed the issue of EVMs, along with the current political situation in Maharashtra ahead of the Assembly elections. This is the first time the MNS has formally met Sonia Gandhi.
Notably, the Congress party is in alliance with Sharad Pawar's NCP in the state of Maharashtra, while the BJP and Shiv Sena forged an alliance ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Earlier during his son's wedding, Raj Thackeray had given a formal invitation to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul, however, both the leaders skipped the event. Before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the MNS had proposed the idea of an alliance with the Congress-NCP alliance in order to fight the BJP-Shiv Sena combine in the state. However, while Sharad Pawar expressed keenness over the proposal, Congress refused to join hands with MNS.
Even as the MNS did not contest the Lok Sabha elections, Raj Thackeray had campaigning against the BJP-Shiv Sena combine in the state, blaming the EVMs for the victory of the saffron party in the 2019 polls. The MNS chief reportedly campaigned for the candidates of Congress and NCP in several parts of Maharashtra as well during the recently-concluded polls.
During his Delhi visit, Thackeray also met Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora raisin complaints against EVMS, alleging malfunctioning of the machines during the polls. He urged the CEC to hold the upcoming state assembly elections with ballot papers and not EVMs. There are 288 Assembly constituencies in Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi also met the first time MPs from the Congress party at the orientation programme at the Congress War Room on Monday.