Has Raj Thackeray and MNS Completely Lost Relevance in Maharashtra ??

BJP emerged as the winner in recently held municipal council polls across various parts of Maharashtra. BJP won 851 seats; on the other hand, MNS won ignorable 16 seats. Instead of congratulating the BJP, Raj Thackeray criticized the saffron party and claimed that demonetization is the reason behind their victory.

MNS Chief Raj Thackeray had earned a lot of new RW supporters from various states due to his stand on Pakistani artist issue. Perhaps for the first time, Delhiites and friends from Bihar were sharing posts praising his party’s stand. He forced the state government to expose details about Constable Vilas Shinde, who was murdered by Muslims. But he probably ruined the image by siding with Congress and making irresponsible statement suggesting that the country will be pushed towards anarchy due to demonetization.

While criticizing the action against corruption, he even compared currency ban with setting the house on fire to kill just two mice. Believe it or not, Forbes Magazine released an article to decode MNS Chief’s reaction.

Related: Raj Thackeray’s Vague Hints And Accusations About Demonetization In India

Did not fulfill commitments made in his speeches

Political analysts have pointed out several times that people voted for MNS between 2009 and 2012 because they believed in MNS chief’s charismatic personality and powerful speeches.

Take his February 2012 speech given in Pune for example. Raj Thackeray rightly pointed out that two-wheeler makers like Bajaj benefit due to poor public transport in Pune. Pathetic public transport means better bike sales figures from that city. He promised Puneites that his corporators will improve public transport at any cost. Pune elected 28 MNS corporators, and the party also got PMC’s leader of opposition chair. However, after elections, these MNS corporators did absolutely nothing to improve public transport. In fact, they started showing opposition towards the city’s Metro Rail project as well!

This was just about Pune; there are several stories from Nasik and Mumbai as well.

Changing engine’s direction may not help in remaining politically relevant

According to news reports, the party aims to make changes in its election symbol, now they want the railway in their symbol to be reversed from right to left. No matter whichever direction the engine moves, people have probably lost their faith in the party. In cities like Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivali, Pune, and Nasik, the party had a considerable number of corporators. But they failed to develop their wards and joined hands with Congress and NCP wherever possible. Development was never in their agenda it seems.

Back in 2009s Assembly elections, the party’s future looked promising. They had won 13 Assembly seats. However, in 2014 that number came down to just one seat, even lesser than MIM’s two seats.

In 2010, the party won 26 seats in Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation polls. But, out of 26, the party just managed to retain nine seats during polls held in November 2015.

The party enjoyed complete control on Nasik Municipal Corporation. In 2012, they won 40 out of 122 seats. The city is all set to face elections once again next year. Out of MNS’s 40 corporators in Nasik, nine have already joined the BJP while 16 joined the Shiv Sena. The condition is not much different in other cities as party’s corporators are leaving the sinking ship.

Don’t know if party chief deserves the blame or his elected representatives. But, it won’t be wrong to say that voters have already conducted surgical strikes on MNS.

By: Nitten Gokhaley

The author is a consultant journalist and writes for newspapers as well as news websites