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Shiv Sena leader likely to join MNS tomorrow

Mumbai: In a setback for the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, its former MLC Parshuram Uparkar said here today that he is likely to quit the party and join the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

Uparkar, whose MLC term ended in July last year met Raj Thackeray today.

Raj will address a rally in Khed tomorrow and Uparkar is likely to join the party with his supporters at the rally.

Raj Thackeray.

MNS leader Raj Thackeray.

Uparkar told PTI that he had met Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on January 29 and explained how efforts were made to destroy him politically in Sindhurdurg district by his close Shiv Sena associates like Vinayak Raut and others.

"When Narayan Rane left the Shiv Sena, I stood against him in the district. But in the last two years, systematic efforts have been made to destroy me politically. Despite putting across my grievances to Uddhavji, nothing happened," Uparkar said.

He said that he discussed his present situation in the Shiv Sena with Raj Thackeray, who invited him to join the MNS. "I will take a final call with my supporters tomorrow morning and if all goes well, I may join the MNS tomorrow evening at the Khed rally," he said.

Raut's exit would be a significant development for the Shiv Sena in the wake of the demise of party supremo Bal Thackeray in November 2012 and his son Uddhav Thackeray assuming the responsibility as party president.

When asked about speculation that he was about to join the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Uparkar said he had met NCP leader and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar in this regard.

"But my supporters said that the MNS is a better choice as an alternative to the Shiv Sena, rather than joining the ruling NCP," he said.

PTI