The day when Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray will launch his son Amit into mainstream politics on January 23, happens to be the late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray’s birth anniversary. Though Amit has been accompanying his father Raj at almost all party events, he has never addressed party workers. On this auspicious day, he is likely to make his maiden address during the party event.
When AV spoke to MNS leader Sandeep Deshpande about Amit Thackeray’s entry into active politics he said, “Raj Thackeray has still not decided whether Amit Thackeray will enter politics. However, the party workers think that Amit Thackeray should be given some important responsibility. But the final decision will be taken by Raj saheb as he is the only person who can take a call. And if he wishes to enter politics, we will welcome Amit with open hearts. Since it’s not possible for Raj saheb to reach everywhere always, the induction of Amit could be beneficial for the party.”
The MNS has organised its Maha-Adhiveshan in Mumbai on January 23. The speculations indicate that the MNS may adopt staunch Hindutva ideology expanding its ideology of Marathi Manoos and son of soil. Furthermore, the party will possibly announce an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Since Uddhav Thackeray formed an alliance with secular parties and somewhere compromised on Hindutva politics, this opportunity has inspired Raj Thackeray to hold Balasaheb’s roots of philosophy.
BJP spokesperson Shaina NC said, “Any person who wants to enter politics is welcome as they are here to serve the society and it’s not important what surname he/ she has. Because gone are the days of dynastic politics as people want to see his/her performance. If your performance is good then you stay in it and if it’s not, the same people will chuck you out.”
Talking on the subject, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray clarified by saying, “I might go to any laundry but my basic colour would be saffron. I would never shy away from this colour as it is my existence.” People should stop playing politics on colours.
Meanwhile there is no official announcement of Amit Thackeray entering politics through the MNS. But the party has changed its party flag which has a stamp (Raj Mudra) used during Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s rule and the flag is saffron in colour giving it a Hindutva attitude and tone. However, no official announcement regarding the change of the party’s flag has come from the MNS end. Few weeks ago, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis had met Raj Thackeray in a Mumbai hotel. After the meeting, the assumptions were that the Raj Thackeray-led MNS would likely forge an alliance with the BJP and announce a major shift in its policy.
If Amit is pushed into mainstream politics, MNS will get a youth leader and a ‘fresh’ face in the public which can be beneficial for the regional party. In 2014, Raj Thackeray had stated that he will induct Amit into politics at the right time. In the 2019 Maharashtra assembly elections, MNS witnessed a huge setback and was completely washed off from power. Only one MNS candidate Raju Patil managed to win from the Kalyan assembly constituency. Therefore, the change in MNS’ policy on Hindutva and building a relationship with BJP, especially on the electoral front, seems like a strong possibility. The alliance with BJP on the Hindutva issue will only benefit the regional party electorally.
On the other hand, BJP may try to monopolise on the issue of the “sons of the soil” if it allies with Raj Thackeray-led MNS which can spell trouble for Shiv Sena. Besides, if MNS turns completely saffron (or towards Hindutva), with the support of BJP, it can affect Sena’s vote bank in the upcoming civic elections. Recently, MNS chief Raj Thackeray and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were seen together in a banner put up for the Zilla Parishad elections in Palghar which were held on January 7. After the 2019 Maharashtra assembly election results, BJP was left hanging after its 35-year-old ally Shiv Sena formed a government with the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).