Mumbai: Targeting the Shiv Sena, MNS candidate from Mumbai South Lok Sabha constituency Bala Nandgaonkar has said that Marathi vote bank is not a monopoly of any party.
The MNS MLA, during an interaction with journalists in Mumbai, also expressed confidence that his party would do well on at least five out of the ten seats it is contesting in Maharashtra.
When asked whether MNS has fielded candidates to make a dent into Sena`s traditional vote bank, he said, "We are not fielding candidates to eat into Shiv Sena`s vote bank at all. We are fighting on our own and fielding those candidates, who either have a good chance of winning or being at least in the runner up position. There are several seats where Sena has fielded candidates, but we have not."
"Marathi vote bank is not any party`s monopoly. Had that been the case, Shiv Sena would have still been ruling in Maharashtra," he said. On the meeting between former BJP President Nitin Gadkari with MNS chief Raj Thackeray, which led to tension between Shiv Sena and BJP, Nandgaokar said there was nothing wrong in the meet.
"Gadkari did meet Raj Thackeray. But what is wrong in that? There are neither permanent friends nor foes in politics," he said. Replying to a question on MNS` poll prospects in the Lok Sabha polls, Nandgaonkar said, "MNS will win at least five seats in the upcoming elections and I will be one of them."
The MNS legislator is pitted against sitting Congress MP Milind Deora, Shiv Sena leader Arvind Sawant and Aam Aadmi Party`s Meera Sanyal. Talking about his campaign trails, the 55-year-old leader said, "I start my campaign at 9 AM everyday and go door-to-door till about 10 PM. This is what keeps me connected to the voters."
Nandgaonkar has represented the Mazgaon constituency in the state Assembly for three terms since 1995. He had also handled the office of Maharashtra`s Home Minister (Rural) in 1999 for four months.