The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has always claimed itself to be the champion of Marathi cause. Few years ago, the party came into limelight after assaulting north Indian students and drivers. Parties like Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress used to condemn the attacks for gaining political mileage out of this issue. As a result of this the saffron party had improved its performance in the 2009 Lok Sabha election held in Uttar Pradesh. Recently, former BJP president Nitin Gadkari had met MNS chief Raj Thackeray and asked him to resist from contesting polls. Shiv Sena was miffed with the growing proximity between BJP and MNS and even asked the former to clarify its stand about it. By shaking hands with MNS the saffron party has betrayed the north Indians.
The MNS had played a spoilsport in the 2009 Lok Sabha election by splitting the Marathi votes thereby causing huge damage to BJP and Shiv Sena. Thus the Congress-NCP benefited out of it as they retained power in the state. The BJP doesn’t want to avert such situation this time hence they are trying to woo Raj Thackeray.
Raj Thackeray announced that MNS won’t field its candidate from those constituencies where BJP is contesting election. He also declared his support for BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. A question which arises here is how can BJP support a party which had taken an aggressive stand against north Indians in Mumbai and Maharashtra? Is the party only trying to get closer to MNS keeping in mind the forthcoming Lok Sabha election? The BJP will have to face adverse consequences if it forms an alliance with MNS. If the saffron party is really bothered about the welfare of north Indians then they should keep a safe distance from the MNS. The MNS is a small party and is yet to gain a foothold across Maharashtra.
The chairman of the Uttar Pradesh state campaign committee Rampati Ram Tripathi criticized the BJP’s decision to approach MNS ahead of the Lok Sabha election. Tripathi is learnt to have informed BJP leaders in Mumbai that the move align with MNS will prove costly for the party in northern states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. According to the newspaper quote given by Tripathi, he said, “You might win two seats here in Mumbai. However, you might lose more seats in other states,” His fears stemmed from Raj Thackeray’s anti-north Indians stance potentially hurting the BJP in states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where it’s trying to achieve a sizeable tally in order to breach the 200-seat mark. Thus a sizeable portion of north Indians might not vote for the saffron party.