Devendra Fadnavis meeting Raj Thackeray created many speculations in the corridors of Maharashtra politics. After Shiv Sena joining hands with the NCP and the Congress, it was expected that Raj Thackeray could lead a new role. For the last few years, MNS has lost political ground in Maharashtra. In the last Assembly Election 2019, the party led by Raj Thackeray has won just one seat and 2.3 per cent vote share. Moreover, Uddhav has comprised his Hindutva line by joining hands with secular ideologies. This is a good opportunity for Raj Thackeray to make a passage closer to the Hindutva dogma. Shiv Sena is facing criticism after forming the government with mismatched or unparalleled ideological parties like Congress and NCP. BJP also needed a quick replacement in place of Shiv Sena. After forming the alliance with Raj Thackeray, BJP would be able to spread a message to unsatisfied Shiv Saniks that the other Thackeray is going to stand by what the Supremo has uttered all this while. By this, the selection of Uddhav Thackeray as a legacy of Balasaheb Thackeray’s would be proven wrong.
There is already a whisper that Uddhav Thackeray has shown disloyalty to the founder of Shiv Sena. Most probably on 23rd January 2020 on the birth anniversary of Balasaheb Thackeray, Raj Thackeray will announce a tie-up with BJP. On the same day, the party is expected to unveil its new identity a saffron flag that will feature Maratha king Shivaji’s seal. Thus the old flag of the MNS will be replaced. The ‘Marathi Manoos’ issue will no longer be the ideology of Raj Thackeray now. It means that Raj Thackeray will adopt a liberal policy for all. It is also expected that in the coming future, BJP and MNS will jointly contest the local body elections in Maharashtra. After the alliance between BJP and MNS, both will be benefitted either in respect of vote share or for giving a tough challenge to Shiv Sena. So, keeping a view for better prospects, Devendra Fadnavis and Raj Thackeray met and decided to go together.
Uddhav’s arrogance and ego have hurt many of his close confidants. He doesn’t know when to go strong against his partner and when to compromise. His hawkish attitude with the strong support from Sanjay Raut put to rout his party. Uddhav, of late, has been depending more on Sanjay Raut for political advice. He himself is snooty who cannot negotiate but stick to his views only, can never become a successful political advisor. Additionally, Sharad Pawar who was waiting for an opportunity to fulfill the promises made to Balasaheb in bringing back Shiv Sena to power. In 2014, Pawar rendered support to BJP and Modi but as 2019 approached, he successfully revived the NCP and got a huge number of seats. Before 2014 elections, Raj Thackeray was talking about an alliance with the BJP and the Shiv Sena. He had even said that the MNS would support Modi as the PM. Now he’s rubbing shoulders with Modi’s protagonists. He then supported Sharad Pawar. Raj Thackeray said he would fight the Lok Sabha elections. Then at the last moment, he backed out. Then he said he would fight the Vidhan Sabha elections. At the last moment, he backed out (again). Later he said he would ally with the Shiv Sena. Then he backed out. He said he had a “blueprint” to develop Maharashtra. When MNS finally won the Nagpur municipal elections, the blueprint vanished. Nagpur should have been a model for him to build on. But he didn’t pay any attention there. MNS is eight years old and it is heavily centralised. There is nobody apart from Raj Thackeray who can take decisions in the party.
MNS projected an image of anti-North Indians but then called Muslims and neo-Buddhists towards itself. This alienated the majority Hindu vote bank which still believes in the caste system and is anti-Muslim. His party’s flag has blue at the top. He’s saying it outright that he wants neo-Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims. Neo-Buddhists don’t vote for him because that small blue strip is very tiny. Hindus don’t vote for him because the blue strip is over and above the saffron. Muslims in general are less territorial but even those who are seeing that green at the bottom. There are going to be only two main parties at the centre. If he chooses NDA, he will lose his Muslim vote bank. He should decide if his Muslim support means a lot to him or if he can make do with most of them.
If he chooses UPA in the current scenario, it will not benefit him. The third option for him is to go to South India and try to find allies in other regional parties and try to make the ticket to the Centre. This will also not work. Regional parties are not strong enough to make him enter the Centre. There are some practical aspects of politics without which a party cannot come to power. Now, most of the strong opposition parties have aligned with Shiv Sena by rejecting the BJP. Therefore, BJP has no obligation to support Sena anymore. Raj Thackeray is a political arch enemy of Uddhav Thackeray. He is popular with Maharashtrians. He can give a tough fight to the Shiv Sena. Now he has been marginalised by Shiv Sena. So, it is natural that BJP and Raj Thackeray will talk with each other under new circumstances. It will be beneficial to both the parties politically.
After MNS was formed in 2006, the Shiv Sena unit of Nashik joined him. Within 6 years, he won the municipal polls. He promised to visit Nashik every month and transform it into an ideal city. Had he done that, he could have showcased it as a model city and used it to broaden his base in the highly urbanised Maharashtra but that never happened. He hardly visited Nashik. After singing praisess for Narendra Modi, Raj Thackeray was in two minds about whether to fight the 2014 general elections or not till the very end. Finally, he fought against the Modi wave and lost deposits in all places! This was the beginning of the fall of his party. Raj couldn’t stop it when he faced the Assembly elections that happened just five months ago. MNS won only one seat in Pune district. By now, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena that was wiped out of Maharashtra, can work wonders by joining hands with the BJP.
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