Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray is sparing no efforts to impose his image as self-appointed custodian of Mumbai. Recently MNS threatened to disrupt the recording of musical show with Pakistani singers on the grounds that boycotting the artistes from Pakistani will send a strong message against the neighouring country’s support to terrorism. However when Boney Kapoor producer of the TV show paid a visit to Raj, all the objections to the TV show just went in thin air.
It seems Raj may have seen reason and relented to the requests of TV producers to let them air the show without any trouble, however this is far from truth. By objecting and later relenting Raj showed that he is trying to dethrone his uncle Bal Thackeray as the custodian of Mumbai. Previously it was Bal Thackeray who would resort to such antics.
Following the August 11 riots at Azad Maidan, Raj took out a massive rally to Azad Maidan despite the lack of police permission. He was aware that in the Shiv Sena there was nobody who could take out such big rally. Bal Thackeray was too old to engage in such activities, while Uddhav who had just been discharged after complaining of chest pain could not have done it either and it was too risky a adventure for cub Aditya, Thackeray’s grandson.
Taking the opportunity, Raj took out a rally under the pretext that it was for the Marathi brothers and sisters in the police force who were at the receiving end during the riots. In the six years of MNS, this was first time that he expressed his sympathies for his brethren in the police force.
“Raj has been adapting himself to the situation pretty quickly. His initial experiments with being a secular party failed to elicit the desired response from the community, so he took on North Indians like his uncle Thackeray had taken on the South Indians during the early days of the Shiv Sena,” said former MNS leader who went back to the Sena.
Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar hit the nail on the head when he questioned Raj Thackeray taking on himself to comment on things that had to do with governance and administration. Though the NCP is underplaying Raj’s antics, the Congress on the other hand is officially expressing its dislike for such behaviour. Maharashtra Congress President Manikrao Thakare has written to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Home Minister R R Patil requesting the state to rein in Raj whose antics was getting out of hand. Thakare in his letter said that Raj was resorting to provocative statements and speeches for which he could be booked.
Without naming MNS or Raj, chief minister Chavan on Friday said that certain political parties were resorting to vote bank politics by dividing the sentiments of the community. The chief minister’s remarks and MPCC chief Thakare’s letter to the state are the result of being prodded by the Congress leadership who are questioned by their North Indian allies.
However, unofficially for the Congress, Shiv Sena which was once known as the B Team of the Congress in the state is glad MNS has replaced it. The Congress and the NCP is hoping that the warring cousins would keep the Marathi and North Indian vote bank divided and in return would benefit from it during the polls. “Since the Congress leadership is aware that it cannot directly control Raj, so it holds the reins of his coterie who are thriving on building construction activity. The government’s fury is the last thing a developer would want,” said Congress leader.