Other States

MNS has never changed its political stance: Raj

Meet and greet: MNS chief Raj Thackeray waves at supporters in Aurangabad on Friday.

Meet and greet: MNS chief Raj Thackeray waves at supporters in Aurangabad on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Yogesh Londhe

In veiled dig, MNS chief accuses Shiv Sena of abandoning Hindutva

Contending that the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had never changed its political stance regarding infiltrators, party chief Raj Thackeray on Friday took potshots at the Shiv Sena, led by his cousin Uddhav Thackeray.

Mr. Thackeray denied being issued any notice by the State Election Commission following complaints by Maratha outfits against the party’s adoption of a saffron flag with Chhatrapati Shivaji’s royal seal or ‘Rajmudra’.

“I have made it clear that the flag incorporating the Rajmudra is meant to serve an inspirational purpose and is not for use during elections. Furthermore, we had already informed the EC that we would be adopting this flag more than three years ago. It was only that we officially displayed it last month,” he said to reporters in Aurangabad.

Taking veiled jibes at the Shiv Sena, the MNS chief said only his party actually undertook drives against illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Pakistan in Mumbai, as opposed to some “so-called Hindutva parties”. “Why doesn’t anyone ask questions of those so-called Hindutva parties [the Shiv Sena] who have discarded their avowed roles and are now sitting in power? Why is it that when it boils down to action, it is only the MNS which must carry out the actual deeds without support from any other Hindutva adherent?” he asked.

He claimed that it was only due to the actions of MNS workers that the government was able to get taxis and autorickshaws, being allegedly driven illegally by Bangladeshis, off the roads in Mumbai.

The MNS’s change of ideological direction has triggered speculation of the party inching closer to the Bharatiya Janata Party, despite having “unofficially” campaigned for Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the general election last year.

However, the MNS chief downplayed his former affinity with the NCP, saying in Maharashtra’s politics, there has always been a tradition of maintaining personal ties despite ideological or political differences. “I had met Mr. Pawar over the issue of EVM tampering. This does not mean that our relations had transformed into any political friendship,” he said.

When questioned about the Elgaar Parishad case being handed over to the National Investigation Agency, Mr. Thackeray said, “It doesn’t matter which agency conducts the inquiry, as long as the probe reaches a conclusion. We see many inquiries being started, but they never seem to end.”

Responding to questions that he was being hailed in banners as a ‘Hindu Jana Nayak’ (defender of the Hindutva ideal), Mr. Thackeray said he had explicitly instructed his supporters not to put up posters with such hyperbolic titles.

Seizing on the Sena’s failure to rename Aurangabad to Sambhajinagar, Mr. Thackeray said, “What harm is there if Aurangabad is changed to Sambhajinagar?”

The Sena, meanwhile, has accused the MNS of hijacking its demand to rename Aurangabad.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 11:58:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/mns-has-never-changed-its-political-stance-raj/article30825482.ece

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