MUMBAI: The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) feels that MNS chief Raj Thackeray's latest diatribe against the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi would eventually benefit the Congress-NCP combine in Lok Sabha polls, at least in some urban pockets in Maharashtra.
The NCP's optimism stems from the appeal made by Thackeray Tuesday in which he said the Lok Sabha elections is a fight between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and rest of the country.
Thackeray met NCP chief Sharad Pawar here Wednesday. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which tried hard to be part of the Congress-NCP front ahead of the polls, has already announced not to contest Lok Sabha polls.
Though the NCP was in favour of taking MNS on board, the Congress opposed any such move citing the MNS' aggressive brand of politics.
In 2014 elections, the MNS had drawn a blank. In the assembly elections held that year, the party won only one seat. Maharashtra will vote in four phases next month. Disgruntled BJP MLA from Dhule, Anil Gote also called on Pawar at his residence Wednesday.
Gote told Pawar that his sole aim is to defeat Union minister and local BJP MP Subhash Bhamre. The legislator, however, clarified that he didn't seek help of Pawar, but "just conveyed" his position to the NCP chief.
When asked about the meeting between Thackeray and Pawar, an NCP leader said, "The meeting augurs well for our party. The MNS enjoys influence in some urban pockets. Though the MNS is formally not a part of the proposed grand alliance, the position Thackeray took yesterday will eventually benefit us".
Addressing MNS workers here, Thackeray had slammed PM Modi over "rising unemployment" and other issues. The ruling BJP claims that the MNS chief is doing the bidding of "Baramati", a reference to NCP chief Sharad Pawar's pocket-borough.
The NCP leader said the proposed grand alliance in Maharashtra will benefit in constituencies such as Mumbai north-east, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivli, Nashik and some other pockets in Konkan belt.
MNS has loyal vote banks in many of these pockets. Meanwhile, Gote said corruption and goondaism was being protected in Dhule. "I have been fighting against these very ills for the last 30 years. I must cleanse my party if such ills are being practiced within it," he said after meeting Pawar.
The MLA, who has been at loggerheads with the BJP's state leadership since the Dhule Municipal Corporation elections held last year, added that he did not seek help from Pawar, but just conveyed his position to the NCP chief.
"I discussed issues with him. We will meet him again," he said.