The MNS chief Raj Thackeray says teams would be set up to study the strength of the party in the 48 Lok Sabha seats.

In view of the twists and turns in the present political scenario, I doubt whether the civic polls will be held this year. If they are held, a number of people will bite the dust. I believe that we will be directly heading to the Lok Sabha electoral contest next year,” said Mr. Thackeray, in a pointed criticism of the shift in political alliances in the State since the past year.

Civic polls to the crucial, cash-rich Mumbai, Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad civic bodies have been pending for more than a year-and-a-half.

Reiterating his view that the ongoing crisis within the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) was a scripted act, Mr. Thackeray said the NCP had been in cahoots with the BJP since 2014.

“There is confusion everywhere, even among journalists. The second NCP team under Sharad Pawar will soon join the BJP,” he reiterated.

Despite his affinity to the ruling BJP, Mr. Raj Thackeray — the estranged cousin of Uddhav Thackeray — hinted he was likely to go alone in the forthcoming elections. Since the past year, the MNS’ heavy tilt towards the BJP has led observers to think of a future alliance between the two.

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