Days after he quit the Shiv Sena to join the MNS, the party has decided to nominate former Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena (BVS) chief Abhijit Panse as its nominee from the Thane Lok Sabha constituency. Panse had joined the MNS in the presence of party chief Raj Thackeray on its foundation day on March 9.
After the formation of the Yuva Sena, Panse, a protege of Sena Rajya Sabha MP and spokesperson Sanjay Raut, was heading the Sena's cine workers wing. Sitting MP Sanjeev Naik, the son of Thane strongman Ganesh Naik, is defending his seat against Thane MLA Rajan Vichare (Sena) and Sanjeev Sane (AAP).
The MNS has also decided to field Suresh (Balyamama) Gopinath Mhatre as its candidate from Bhiwandi, where the Congress has replaced incumbent MP Suresh Taware with Kunbi Sena chief Vishwamath Patil. The seat is contested by the BJP.
Despite former BJP president Nitin Gadkari's request to him to desist from splitting the anti-incumbncy votes, Raj has already declared the nominations of nine party candidates. This includes MLA Bala Nandgaonkar (South Mumbai), Aditya Shirodkar (South Central Mumbai), director Mahesh Manjrekar (North West Mumbai), Rajiv Patil (Kalyan), Ashok Khandebarad (Shirur), Dr Pradeep Pawar (Nashik) and former MLA Deepak Paigude (Pune). Of the nine candidates, seven will contest against the Sena and two versus the BJP.