Raj Thackeray meets Sonia Gandhi
Sonia Gandhi and Raj Thackrey reportedly discussed political developments including the issue of EVMs over which opposition parties have demanded going back to paper ballots in elections.
While sources close to the MNS claimed that Thackeray’s meeting was purely to discuss the issue of EVMs and nothing else, it was understood that it was essentially to explore the possibility of the MNS joining an alliance with the Congress and NCP for the forthcoming Maharashtra Assembly polls.
Before the Lok Sabha polls, the MNS had pitched an idea to form an alliance with the Congress and NCP to take on the BJP-Shiv Sena combine. While the NCP was quite keen and pushed the proposal the Congress refused to have anything to do with the MNS.
Congress leaders had opposed the alliance on two counts; one, that teaming up with the MNS would damage the party’s prospects among the sizeable north Indian community in Mumbai, and also affect the party’s chances in northern states such as UP and Bihar. This was because Thackeray had made disparaging remarks against the migrants from these states and his party workers had even assaulted many of them.
In spite of Congress’ refusal, Thackeray had campaigned for the Congress and NCP candidates in Mumbai and elsewhere in Maharashtra, and slammed the BJP.
The MNS chief has also taken positions similar to the Congress and NCP and blamed the EVMs for BJP’s victory.
On Monday too, he met Election Commission chief Sunil Arora and asked for the use of paper ballots for the coming assembly elections.
“Iknow the EC is not going to do anything. I met him because people would ask why I didn’t present my grievances to the EC -- I have zero expectations though,” said Thackeray.