MNS facing midlife crisis

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Thackeray-RajThe Maharashtra Navnirman Sena which claims to be the champion of Marathi cause is losing its sheen in Maharashtra. The party which will complete its 8th anniversary on 9th March, 2014 has nothing to cheer about. Even though MNS had came into limelight after its party workers assaulted the north Indian students and drivers but it was unable to expand beyond cities like Mumbai, Pune and Nasik and remained an urban-centric party. The Lok Sabha election is just round the corner but MNS supremo Raj Thackeray has not taken any decision whether his party will contest election. MNS is yet to declare the name of its candidates for the general election as they are unhappy with the party’s leadership and it’s mode of functioning. Many of them are now worried about their future and might even shift loyalties.

The MNS which was banking heavily on the Marathi vote bank for coming to power received a huge setback as Marathi voters kept a safe distance from the party. There are 140 corporators and eleven MLA’s of the party in the state. The eight year old party has been in power at the Nashik Municipal Corporation with the support of the BJP. Youths had too many expectations from MNS but the party failed to fulfil it. Raj Thackeray delivers speeches like Bal Thackeray. Even though people turn up in large numbers to attend his rallies but those numbers don’t translate into votes. The opposition takes a jibe at Raj Thackeray’s rallies by saying that he is merely providing entertainment to the people.

People are reluctant to vote for MNS as the party doesn’t have any agenda for them and lacks proper roadmap for development. In the year 2009 assembly elections the MNS had won 13 seats in the state. MLA Ramesh Wanjle had passed away due to heart attack while Harshwardhan Jadhav had made allegations against Raj Thackeray and quit the party to join Shiv Sena. The remaining 11 MLAs are not playing the role of a good opposition and have failed to challenge the government. Instead of working for the welfare of the common man they are only interested in garnering cheap publicity.

During the formation of MNS Raj Thackeray had announced that he had a blue print for the development of Maharashtra. Even though the party is in power in Nasik but it has not undertaken any development work for the city. The performance of the 28 corporators too is not up to the mark. Raj Thackeray doesn’t interact with the masses and his party workers. As a result of this, they have quit MNS which has further weakened the party. Few days back, Nitin Gadkari had met Raj Thackeray and asked him to refrain from contesting the Lok Sabha election which has further dented the party’s image among people.

Janswaraj Party MLA Vinay Kore, Shetkari Kamgar Party, Jayant Patil and Nashik education dept head Apurva Hire have met Raj Thackeray for forming a third front in the state. MNS which was initially reluctant to form alliance will send a wrong message if it has a tie-up with these parties. People are eagerly waiting to know what decision Raj Thackeray will be taking on the occasion of the party’s foundation day on 9th, March.

When AV tried to contact MNS group leader Balanandgaokar, Pravin Darekar, Nitin Sardesai about the election strategy of the party they refused to comment about it.

Parvez Khan