Maharashtra Assembly Elections: BJP May Ask Raj Thackeray To Take On Uddhav Thackeray In MMR Areas

June 15,2024

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been holding highlevel meetings behind closed doors in Mumbai and New Delhi as part of its strategic planning for the upcoming Assembly elections in Maharashtra.

One group of leaders feels it will be easier to counter Uddhav Thackeray in these elections if the BJP asks Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS) leader Raj Thackeray to take on his cousin in five or six Assembly constituencies in the Mumbai Metro Region or MMR, which includes Mumbai and Thane.

Many in the BJP think tank are willing to leave seats for the MNS and support that party's candidate in various constituencies in the city and its suburbs. For the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP went with Eknath Shinde's Shiv Sena and Ajit Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in their seat-sharing formula and though Raj Thackeray announced support to the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the last phases of the campaign at a rally held at Shivaji Park, the BJP did not give him any constituency in their seat sharing formula.

Raj Thackeray On Contesting In Elections

Raj had announced during the 2019 polls of Lok Sabha that his party would not contest any seat and in the 2024 polls also his party was not too eager to contest. Now looking at the results in the Mumbai South constituency where Shinde's candidate Yamini Jadhav lost and the Mumbai North constituency where his candidate Ravindra Waikar won by a very narrow margin, a large section of leaders in the BJP's think tank feels that Raj Thackeray would be a better bet for them than Shinde's party in many constituencies in Mumbai.

Statement Of A Very Senior BJP Leader

One former Maharashtra minister who is a very senior BJP leader said he had suggested to the party that Raj Thackeray's candidates could be given seats such as Mazgaon in south Mumbai, Dadar and Worli in central Mumbai, and also many seats in the eastern suburbs of Mumbai where there is a large population of Marathi speaking voters.

"We feel if Raj is in our alliance, he is our best face to counter Uddhav Thackeray's Sena and his people can even take on Aditya Thackeray in Worli where Uddhav Thackeray's Shiv Sena has not got much margin, though his candidate won the Mumbai South Central seat in the recent Lok Sabha polls," said the leader.

Central Leadership Of BJP Show Displeasure On Party's Performance In Mumbai

The central leadership of the BJP showed displeasure over the party's performance in Mumbai city and suburbs, according to one party leader. In the 2019 polls, the party had won all the six seats in the Mumbai region.

The leadership was especially unhappy about the way the party could not present a seasoned and known face in the Mumbai North Central constituency and had to nominate a senior legal professional who had entered active politics just weeks before contesting the polls.

The leadership has now asked the state unit to ensure such mistakes are not repeated in the Assembly polls and said if required one seat could be handed over to an alliance partner who has better clout in that particular constituency. The BJP has almost finalised this strategy for Mumbai and MMR region and Raj Thackeray's party will benefit from it during the assembly polls.