Raj Thackeray should clarify ideology to join `anti-BJP front': Former state Congress chief Thakre

Last Sunday, MNS chief Raj Thackeray called for a "Modi-mukt Bharat" by 2019, setting off speculation about his political moves ahead of the next general elections.

Published: 21st March 2018 01:45 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st March 2018 01:45 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

MUMBAI: A senior Congress leader has said the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) must clarify its ideology and stand on various issues before it makes any move to join an "anti-BJP" front.

Last Sunday, MNS chief Raj Thackeray called for a "Modi-mukt Bharat" by 2019, setting off speculation about his political moves ahead of the next general elections and possibility of joining the Congress-led opposition bloc.

The regional outfit, whose foundation is rooted in the `sons-of-the-soil' agenda, has said a party's stand needs to change as per the prevailing political situation.

Manikrao Thakre, a former state Congress chief, said ever since Raj Thackeray formed his own party 12 years ago after leaving the Shiv Sena, there has been no consistency in his political stand.

"He will have to clarify whether he espouses a national perspective or wants to stick to the regional agenda and anti-migrant stance.

"Even though he is critical of the BJP and the Shiv Sena, his ideology is no different from the two saffron partners," said Thakre, who is now Deputy Chairman of the Legislative Council.

Any move to get a place in the "Congress-led anti-BJP front" can materialise only if he clarifies his ideology, he said.

On speculation about NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Raj Thackeray coming closer, Thakre avoided a direct reply and said only the Maratha strongman can speak on this issue.

He said there is a need for all Republican Party factions to come together.

Prakash Ambedkar, Jogendra Kawade, Rajendra Gavai and Ramdas Athawale (a BJP ally), who head different factions of the Dalit party, should not go separate ways, he opined.

"They should come together in the interest of the nation to oppose the BJP's ideology," Thakre said.

MNS spokesman Vageesh Saraswat said there can be no consistency in a political party's stand.

"It (a party) needs to change and adapt to changes as per the prevailing political situation.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar are the recent examples," he said.

Naidu recently walked out of the NDA, while Kumar joined the BJP-led coalition last year after quitting the RJD- Congress alliance in Bihar.

A source in the MNS said Raj Thackeray will be comfortable being part of a "non-BJP and non-Congress front" of regional parties led by Pawar.

"To counter (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi, there is no other acceptable face than Pawar. If there is anyone else, that name can be discussed," the source said.

In 2014, Raj Thackeray supported Modi's candidature for the PM's post.

He even stayed in Gujarat for 10 days as Modi's guest.

Now, he wants Pawar to lead an "anti-Modi front", he said.

The Congress will not join any third front as it is a national party and would instead want all the non-BJP parties to accept Rahul Gandhi's leadership, the MNS source said.

"It is not yet known if all the non-BJP parties will accept Rahul Gandhi's leadership," he said.

Meanwhile, NCP spokesman Nawab Malik said not much should be read into Raj Thackeray's recent meeting with Pawar.

"It was a personal meeting," he said.

Malik, however, admitted there is no clarity on Raj Thackeray's ideology and stand on various issues.

Pawar wants to expand the Congress-led UPA by roping in like-minded parties, but there is no talk of willingness or opposition by UPA partners to admit Raj Thackeray into their fold, the NCP spokesman said.

Pawar is expected to host a dinner for leaders of opposition parties in New Delhi next week as part of efforts to forge unity among them ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp