MUMBAI: Dissent is brewing in the MNS as the party workers are apparently unhappy over Raj Thackeray’s tendency to appoint business partners and close friends at key party posts.
Sensing the discontent, Raj convened a meeting of the party workers to understand their grievances and he was unanimously told that they were against ‘forced leaders’.
The workers’ expressing their displeasure in the MNS bastion of Nashik has led to a debate in the party as to whether Raj should force the workers to accept his friends as their leaders.
The workers here are also unhappy with party in-charge Avinash Abhyankar, a close friend of Raj, for his autocratic style of functioning.”He does not take us into account while taking important decisions. We had a pact with the BJP to share power in Nashik but Abhyankar forced us ditch them. It will have a long lasting impact on our cordial relations,” a MNS leader said.
The workers in Mumbai too point towards several Raj friends for the party’s shaky position. According to a source, Raj has planned to field Aditya Shirodkar, son of his business partner Rajan, from Shivadi considered a safe Assembly seat for MNS. The present legislator and second in command leader Bala Nandgaonkar has been asked to move out of Shivadi and concentrate on the ‘tough’ Byculla constituency.
Raj’s other friends, General Secretary Shirish Sawant, union leaders Manoj Chavan and Gajanan Rane and his sister-in-law Shalini are among the most unpopular leaders in the party. The workers have openly complained against them but Raj has chosen to look the other way.
“All these are forced leaders. No one is willing to work under them. They don’t bother about our issues. I am facing many court cases in connection with the violence we were involved on the leaders’ instructions. No one comes to me to inquire whether I have enough money to fight the cases. Their use-and-throw policy has discouraged many of us,” a MNS worker said.