In a severe setback to Raj Thackeray, his Maharashtra Navnirman Sena put up an abysmal electoral showing, becoming the only major political party in the state to get lesser votes than what it drew in 2009. In absolute numbers, all other major parties have polled more number of votes than in 2009.
The party also failed in its endevour to spoil the electoral prospects of the Shiv Sena against whom it had put up candidates in eight seats, all of which were won by the Shiv Sena. In 2009, the MNS had contested 11 seats and garnered 15.03 lakh votes. This time, even though the total number of votes polled in the state grew by 31 per cent, the MNS, which contested 10 seats, saw its total votes go down to 7.01 lakh (till 7.30 pm).
In 2009, it did not manage to win a single seat but played a major role in defeating Sena-BJP nominees who lost by a margin of 3,000-50,000 votes with the MNS drawing over 1 lakh in most seats. This had led to the defeat of 10 Shiv-BJP nominees.
This time around, the MNS managed to cross the 1-lakh mark in only one seat ó Bhiwandi. In nine places, the MNS was in third place while in Yavatmal, it was fourth.
The performance of the party has come as a shock to senior leaders, including party chief Raj Thackeray who remained huddled at home . Senior MNS leaders are likely to meet on Saturday to look into the partyís electoral performance.