Mumbai: Acting on the expected lines, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray on Tuesday declared an ‘unconditional’ support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Mahayuti alliance in Maharashtra for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. “The country needs strong leadership and I am extending my unconditional support to the Mahayuti only for Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said Thackeray while addressing his party's annual Gudhi Padwa rally at the historic Shivaji Park in Dadar.

While offering support to Mahayuti, the MNS chief also put to rest the speculations about his party contesting the Lok Sabha polls. Instead, he asked MNS workers to start preparing for the state Vidhan Sabha elections, which are due later this year. Senior BJP leader and Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday had expressed confidence that Thackeray would support the Mahayuti in the Lok Sabha polls.

“I told Fadnavis that I don’t want Rajya Sabha or Vidhan Parishad. I told them, I have no

expectations and no conditions. My unconditional support for Modi, BJP, NCP (Ajit Pawar), Sena (Eknath Shinde),” he said. Thackeray said that the upcoming Lok Sabha elections would decide the ‘future of the country.’ “Whether we will prosper or we will hit rock bottom, the next five years will decide,” he added.

According to political observers, Thackeray’s decision to support Modi and the Mahayuti was on the expected lines. Last month, he had met Union Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah in New Delhi sparking speculations that he might join the Mahayuti – an alliance of BJP, Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and Ajit Pawar’s NCP faction – in Maharashtra. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Thackeray had openly campaigned against Modi. Talking on this he said, “It’s true that in 2019 elections, I opposed PM Modi, but I have also lauded him for his good moves. I was the first to congratulate him for the abrogation of article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

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