Mumbai: The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has begun preparation for Lok Sabha polls and is likely to field candidates in Maval and Pune Lok Sabha constituencies of Pune district, party sources have said.
Shrirang Barne, the sitting MP from Maval is with CM Eknath Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena. While he is likely to contest the seat again this time, other parties like the NCP and BJP too are eyeing this constituency. Ajit Pawar's son Parth had contested the constituency in 2019, but had lost, while former BJP MLA Lakshman Jagtap too had contested this constituency in 2014. He was supported by the MNS back then.
On this backdrop, the MNS who had never contested this constituency in the past, has started testing waters for the constituency. At a recent meeting held by party leaders Ranjit Shirole and Ameya Khopkar leaders from all the six assembly segments in this Lok Sabha constituency viz. Pimpri, Chinchwad, Mawal, Panvel, Karjat and Uran, too were invited and they were asked to begin preparations for the election, sources within the party have said.
MNS to dent prospects of Maha Yuti candidate?
While no one is expecting the MNS to win the election, assessments are being done of how much the MNS candidate can dent the prospects of Maha Yuti candidate, the party insider added.
The MNS appears to have concentrated its energies on Pune district this time. While party supremo Raj Thackeray's Pune tours have increased recently, he is also learnt to have entrusted his son Amit with the responsibility of party strategy for the candidate in this election. This has led to speculations that the MNS is serious about Lok Sabha elections this time, a feat that the party has avoided ever since its inception about 20 years back, and is really gearing up for its first ever MP.
Amit Thackeray to travel to Pune
Former MNS Corporator from Pune Vasant More had staked claim on the Pune Lok Sabha constituency after the death of BJP's sitting MP Girish Bapat. While appealing the party leadership to back him as a candidate for the by-election, he had said that he can become the first ever MP of the MNS. However, since the by-election was not declared in the constituency, More didn't get a chance to prove his words. While it is unlikely that More will be able to garner support of his fellow leaders from the city, he can become the party candidate if Amit Thackeray gets a chance and decides in his favour. Amit is scheduled to travel to Pune on Tuesday where he is likely to address a meeting of party office bearers around issues like party organisation, choice of candidate, campaign etc. party sources said.