National

Despite sitting out of LS polls, Raj Thackeray takes continuous jibes at BJP

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on April 26, 2019 Published on April 26, 2019

File Photo of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray.   -  The Hindu

The official Twitter handle of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray had jolted the BJP on Republic Day, by sporting a cartoon drawn by Thackeray himself showing Prime Minister Modi and BJP President Amit Shah hanging a woman named ‘Republic’ from a fort.

But today, as the Parliamentary election is inching towards the finale, Thackeray has gone on the offensive by holding multiple rallies across Maharashtra, displaying video content, and fact-checking, which are deeply offensive to the BJP.

A BJP insider said that this open warfare is due to the Maharashtra State Assembly elections, when the BJP, under pressure from the Shiv Sena, had refused to join hands with the MNS in pre-election tie up and after the elections, it never accommodated MNS in the government.

Nagesh Kesari, a commentator on current affairs, said that in spite of the fact that MNS is not contesting the Lok Sabha elections, Thackeray has visited Gujarat number of times and also toured Maharashtra extensively.

In the last one year, Thackeray has been criticising Modi and Shah.

One thing is certain, that there would be transfer of votes to anti-BJP parties. Ardent supporters of the MNS will vote for parties such as the Congress and the National Congress Party.

Thackeray is a convincing orator and a cartoonist, he said.

The MNS fielded nine candidates in Maharashtra in 2014 Lok Sabha elections but cut a sorry figure as none of them did well.

He had fielded candidates against its arch rival Shiv Sena on one hand and extended support to BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on the other, but such a disjointed strategy had not worked.

Political analyst Suhas Palshikar said that the MNS chief has a fairly good and ardent following in pockets around Nashik, Thane, and Mumbai, where he could sway the votes and make a dent in the BJP-Shiv Sena vote-share.But in other parts of Maharashtra, such as Vidarbha and Marathwada, he does not have a major presence on the ground.

In the other areas, he will only create confusion among urban voters, who are strong BJP voters, he said.

Published on April 26, 2019
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