Mumbai: Sources say talks between the Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray were specifically focused on the assembly polls, rather than the general elections. Thackeray is more interested in the state polls than in in fielding candidates for the Lok Sabha (LS). “Being a regional a party, Rajsaheb would like to focus on the state, instead of fielding candidates for the LS elections,” said an MNS leader.

However, even if the MNS is not interested in contesting the general elections, sources say, Thackeray is keen on bringing down the saffron alliance government of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena. Congress party president Rahul Gandhi had welcomed all opposition parties against the ruling BJP-Sena and said they would be roped into the mahagathbandhan.

However, the Maharashtra Congress party chief Ashok Chavan was opposed to the MNS joining the grand alliance, even as the NCP is keen on the MNS doing so. Meanwhile, Thackeray is all set to announce his final decision on joining the grand alliance and his party’s next political move on March 9, at the Rangsharda auditorium, where he will address his party members.