Why MNS lost its glory in Nashik

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He was (Yes you read it right) assumed as an immense potential political change agent, as a fugitive whose party would finish the Shiv Sena, and later as a damper who would eat into the Sena votes.  The aggression of MNS Raj Thackeray goes on toss. The party had yet another setback after the fiasco in the assembly election, the Raj Thackeray led MNS is set to lose its ‘state recognized party status’ due to its dismal performance in the assembly election.

The results were catastrophic, it led into the mass resignations by administrators, including former parliamentarian Vasant Gite, district chief of the party Sachin Thakare and women wing’s Chief Sujata Dere in their former stronghold of Nashik.

The drastic drop down of party’s performance compare from 13 in 2009 to just one now, every party worker had confusion and major leader had second thought over the party leadership’s working style and decision making.

MNS Vasant Gite?

MNS Vasant Gite?

By giving strategic answers of party’s poor performance Raj Thackeray neither able to satisfy public nor party worker. MNS leaders admitted:

  • Inability to take the agitation against toll-collection to its logical end,
  • Weak party organisation
  • Absence of a credible programme
  • Conflicts of 2008 violence against North Indians in Maharashtra
  • Clash with Shiv Sena
  • Denunciation of MLA Abu Azmi
  • The party failed to do any positive work in the last five years.
  • And inactiveness and nominal work of Maharashtra Navnirman Vahtuk Sena
  • Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Sharirik Prasikshan Vibhaag
  • Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sena
  • Maharashtra Navnirman Rail Sena
  • Hawai Karmachari Sena
  • Maharashtra Navnirman Rajya Parivahan Karmachari Sena
  • Maharashtra Navnirman Mahila Sena
  • Maharashtra Navnirman Kamgar Sena
  • Maharashtra Navnirman Chitrapat Karmachari Sena
  • Maharashtra Navnirman Navik Sena
  • Maharashtra Navnirman Rojgar Swaymrojgar Sena
  • Maharashtra Navnirman Mahiti Tantradan Vibhag(MNS IT WING)

The party was seen as relying too much on the aura of Raj rather than on any ground-level work.

Raj Thackeray

Raj Thackeray

Firstly, the MNS could not find 288 candidates to contest all the seats. Secondly, Raj and the MNS workers cannot shy away from the fact that all their candidates not only lost the last assembly election, but almost everyone lost their deposits. Thirdly Raj’s attack on Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray just before the Lok Sabha election proved to be a disaster.

After the Lok Sabha election debacle, Raj and his coterie went into a shell, shocked beyond disbelief. People seemed to have made their choice. But one needs to remember that the Marathi manoos was testing both leaders. They gave Udhav time after his father Bal Thackeray’s death.

Raj fell out with his uncle over the dynasty politics issue. He was the nephew and Thackeray chose his son as his political heir. The parting was bitter and acrimonious. There was a fallout between Raj and Udhav. Raj fell for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Nitin Gadkari’s wooing. Gadkari knew that if the MNS cooperated with the BJP then it could eat into Sena votes and ensure that the Sena did not get enough seats. The BJP wanted to ditch the Sena and opt for the MNS.

Ironically, in 2009, the Shiv Sena and BJP had been hit badly by the MNS in around 66 of 288 seats. This time, a majority of MNS nominees forfeited their security deposits. The Lok Sabha results in which the MNS lost all 10 seats it contested were perhaps a sign of the times to come, some of its leaders admit.

Voters were unhappy with the MNS. The party forgot to do its political homework. But in reality there is nothing that the party or Raj Thackeray could have done in this election after the BJP and the Shiv Sena split and fought separately. There was just no political space for a party that at various times has been anti-north Indian, anti-Muslim, anti-Gujarati, and also often advocated a sons-of-the-soil policy. Shiv Sena too had a similar floorboard and so why would anyone vote for its shadow version? To survive, the MNS may have to reposition itself with a focus on farmers and weaker sections, some of its leaders feel. That is not easy with the BJP on the war-path to demolish regional parties. MNS is now facing a dead-end.

Raj will have to do a lot more to win over the public and overcome the trust deficit. It is a lot of work and needs political patience, which can come with maturity and understanding. All of these seem to be answer of why MNS lost its glory in Nashik.

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