Raj plans major comeback on uncle's birth anniversary

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray. (PTI Photo)

Amid changing political equations and ideological shifts in state politics, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray will announce his future course of action next week. 

The 51-year-old charismatic leader and fiery orator would make his stand known on January 23, the 94th birth anniversary of late Bal Thackeray,  the founder of the Shiv Sena and his uncle.

Raj, who is a cartoonist like his uncle, had broken away from the Shiv Sena in 2006 and formed the MNS.

The reason was differences with his cousin and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray,  who is currently Maharashtra chief minister and leader of the ruling Maha Vikas Party which also includes the NCP and the Congress.

"Raj saheb will be announcing his plans on the birth anniversary of Balasaheb," MNS vice president Dr Vageesh Saraswat said.

The mega convention would be held in the NESCO complex in the western suburbs of Goregaon.

In the past couple of years, Raj has become one of the most vocal critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Raj was once an admirer of Modi and the Gujarat model of development.

Last week, when reports surfaced that Raj had a surfaced that he had a one-on-one meeting with Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis, but there has not been any confirmation on any possible alliance, particularly ahead of the next elections of BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation, one of the biggest civic bodies of the country.

On January 23, the MNS is likely to unveil its new flag. 

The current strength of the MNS in the 288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly is one.

In terms of seats, there is no change for the MNS as far as the 2014 and 2019 Vidhan Sabha polls are concerned. 

In the current contemporary political scenario, Raj does not have a political space in the saffron alliance.

Besides, in the past four years, he has come close to NCP supremo Sharad Pawar. In the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls of 2019, Raj chose to target Modi-Shah duo and the EVMs— even though, his party did not contest a single seat.

 As far as the 2019 Vidhan Sabha polls are concerned, the MNS single-handedly contested 100-odd seats, though, in three to four places, his party had a tactical understanding with the NCP-Congress.

In the current scheme of things, the biggest USP of Raj is his oratory and his ability to speak the language the masses speak.

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