The friendship between BJP, Shinde faction and MNS grew, but will it translate into a new political alliance in Maha?
With the changing political equations in the state, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena seems to be moving towards the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, an important factor to watch ahead of the Mumbai civic polls where Marathi votes play a role. . vital role.
Since the fall of the government led by Raj Thackeray’s cousin and arch-rival Uddhav Thackeray in June, the friendship between Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis has sparked new political alliances.
Shinde and Fadnavis met Raj Thackeray for the MNS Deepotsav program at Shivaji Park on the eve of Diwali. The brewing chemistry became evident when the trio went together from the MNS chief’s residence to the venue at Shivaji Park.
Last month, Raj Thackeray wrote a letter to Fadnavis, urging him to withdraw the BJP candidate from the Andheri East assembly bypoll in favor of the wife of late Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke. The BJP later withdrew its candidate from the race, for which Raj Thackeray thanked Fadnavis.
In the months leading up to the fall of the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, Raj Thackeray had raised the issue of loudspeakers in mosques and announced his move to Ayodhya.
After the change of power in Maharashtra, leaders of the BJP and Shinde faction met Raj Thackeray on separate occasions. Both Shinde and Fadnavis also had separate meetings with the MNS chief.
Raj Thackeray also wrote a letter to his “friend” Fadnavis, lauding him for setting an example of loyalty and commitment to his party by taking over as the state’s deputy chief minister.
Officially, each side has declined to comment on a possible alliance in the state.
The lone MNS MLA Raju Patil said that after Fadnavis, Shinde met Raj Thackeray at the Deepotsav program.
He said that they are close at heart but will take whatever the leadership says.
With the Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray faction forging an alliance with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), talks of a new political reorganization between the BJP and the MNS are gaining momentum.
The possibility of such a scenario comes at a time when municipal elections are near, especially the crucial elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
Sujatha Anandan, author of ‘Hindu Hriday Samrat – How Shiv Sena Changed Mumbai Forever’, said it is clear that Raj Thackeray’s MNS will go with the BJP as it is not a threat to the party.
More importantly, Raj Thackeray’s politics has worked against Uddhav Thackeray since he parted ways with Shiv Sena in 2006, Anandan told PTI.
Ketan Bhosale, an associate professor at Mumbai University’s Sathaya College, said Raj Thackeray was inclined to Hindutva two years ago and shares the same reason with the BJP and the Shinde faction.
“The MNS chief had committed “artaghat” in the past and he is strongly against Uddhav. This has happened in the past and at every turn, Raj was always in the opposite camp of Uddhav,” Bhosale said, adding that the upcoming BMC elections could also be the last chance to strengthen the MNS, which is trying to stay politically relevant. .
The MNS was founded in 2006 after Raj Thackeray left the Shiv Sena over who would be Bal Thackeray’s political successor. He raised the issue of sons of the country, the agenda on which Shiv Sena was formed in 1966.
In 2007, in its first municipal elections, the MNS won seven seats in Mumbai, followed by 27 in 2012—the highest ever for the party in Mumbai, which is one of its core base areas. In 2017, it got only seven seats.
In 2009, riding on the “Marathi Manush” placard, Raj Thackeray devoured Shiv Sena and BJP votes in Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Nashik.
In the assembly elections held that year, MNS had got 13 seats out of 288. This paved the way for an easy victory for the Congress-NCP alliance, mainly at the expense of the Shiv Sena.
Author Dhaval Kulkarni in his book ‘The Cousins Thackeray – Uddhav’ writes, “The performance of the MNS in the first assembly election was much more than the historic performance of the Shiv Sena – the party (Shiv Sena) crossed the single digit mark only in 1990.” Shadow of Raj and his army.
The 2009 assembly election is MNS’s best performance till date. Since then it has been slipping away rapidly.
In 2014, the MNS contested 219 seats and forfeited its deposits in 209. It won just one seat and secured 3.15 per cent votes.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Raj Thackeray openly advocated Narendra Modi’s candidature for the Prime Minister’s post and fielded candidates mostly against the Shiv Sena. More than a year before the elections, he also visited Gujarat and praised Modi.
In the 2019 general elections, Raj Thackeray took a U-turn and opened a front against Modi. Experts are seeing this as a help given to the Congress-NCP alliance. In the assembly elections held in the same year, MNS contested 101 seats and forfeited its deposits in 86 constituencies.
It got only one seat in the state and got 2.25 per cent votes.
By 2022, with the Shiv Sena shattered by the Shinde rebellion, it is interesting to see whether the MNS fills the void and attracts Marathi votes in alliance with the BJP and the Shinde faction.
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