If the party targets north-Indians then it might have an impact on BJP’s electoral performance in UP assembly polls says political analysts.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) which celebrated its 10 anniversary is trying to expand its foothold in the city ahead of the 2017 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election. MNS Chief Raj Thackeray shares a love hate relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Raj who had earlier undertaken a visit to Gujarat had praised Modi for the state’s progress. The MNS didn’t contest the 2014 Lok Sabha election for averting the split in saffron votes. However, after winning the election Modi has been side lining Raj Thackeray which has upset him. Raj then started making anti-BJP statements and questioning the style of functioning of Modi. He had even taken a jibe at the recently held Make in India programme of the government and questioned the government’s decision to organise the function in Mumbai instead of Delhi. Raj Thackeray said that more than 70 per cent of auto permits have been issued to outsiders and hence asked his party workers to set these vehicles on fire if they are found plying on streets. According to political analysts since the BJP-Sena government is in power in Maharashtra so if north-Indians are attacked in the state then the state government will be held accountable for it. Moreover it will also have an impact on the BJP’s electoral performance in UP assembly polls.
The MNS which had won 13 seats in the 2009 assembly election hit an all time low after the party managed to win only a single seat in the 2014 assembly polls. The party also suffered severe drubbing the Kalyan-Dombivali civic body election. However, MNS Chief Raj Thackeray has asked his party workers to prepare for the BMC election and asked them to become aggressive. MNS has always been grabbing headlines for the wrong reasons like assaulting taxi drivers, attacking students appearing for railway exams has this time raked up the issue of offering permits to Marathi people.
For improving his party’s fortunes ahead of the civic body polls Raj has decided to hold a public rally on Gudi Padwa every year which is celebrated as Maharashtrian new year.
BJP MLA, Yogesh Sagar said, “I can’t confirm that MNS activists had attacked my party office but my party workers are holding them responsible for it. What will MNS achieve by attacking poor auto rickshaw drivers? Instead they must have an interaction with the company which has sold 70,000 new auto-rickshaws in the city. MNS always thinks about Marathi manoos when elections are nearing.”
BJP MLA, Ram Kadam said, “Poor people are driving autorickshaws for earning their livelihood. But MNS is trying to attack poor people. I would have been happy if the MNS would have taken steps to provide financial assistance to weaker sections for buying autorickshaws.”
Amit Mishra an auto rickshaw driver from Kandivali said, “The MNS always rakes up the outsider issue ahead of polls. The party doesn’t have any other agenda and will be rejected by the voters in the BMC election.”
Rahul Dubey another autorickshaw driver from Borivali said, “MNS should focus on issues which affect the common man like unemployment, traffic, commuting woes etc. Raj Thackeray should first try to connect with the masses instead of adopting cheap tactics to gain publicity.”