Sena, MNS plan show of power on Bal Thackeray's b'day

Shiv Sena, MNS plan major show of strength on Bal Thackeray's birthday

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and MNS chief Raj Thackeray. (File Photo)

In a parallel major show of strengths, Shiv Sena and rival Maharashtra Navnirman Sena are expected to unveil their respective future political strategies and paths on January 23, the 94th birth anniversary of late Bal Thackeray.

For the two warring Thackeray cousins, the day is very crucial - which also coincides with the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. 

While the Shiv Sena plans to felicitate its president and Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, who heads the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance government, the MNS will hold a day-long mega convention presided over by its president Raj Thackeray to set its future course. 

While the Shiv Sena event would be held at the MMRDA grounds at Bandra Kurla Complex, the MNS event is planned in Nesco Complex in Goregaon. 

In the changing political dynamics and alignments, both these events are being closely watched by all political parties. Besides, senior leaders of Sena and MNS have started taking jibes at each other ahead of the event. 

Uddhav (59) would be felicitated by Shiv Sena amidst the presence of top leaders of MVA, that besides Shiv Sena comprises of Sharad Pawar-led NCP and Congress besides other smaller parties. In fact, Uddhav and his core team literally denied the BJP the chair of CM. 

While the BJP-Shiv Sena contested the polls together as the MahaYuti alliance, post polls, the Shiv Sena demanded the post of CM, that BJP did not concede. Ultimately, Uddhav has to tie-up with the Congress-NCP led MahaAghadi and ensure the CM’s post for a Shiv Sainik. However, for the stability of the new alliance, Pawar insisted that Uddhav occupies the top chair and be the leader of MVA. 

With BJP and Shiv Sena breaking up, former CM and now the leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis held a secret meeting with Raj, however, there was no confirmation from either side. 

According to MNS leaders, some resolutions including one of state politics would be passed. Besides, the MNS is also expected to unveil its new flag.

A poster released ahead of the MNS event has also created a buzz in political circles. The poster has a map of Maharashtra painted in saffron and it- ‘Ideology of Maharashtra...a resolve to create a Hindavi Swaraj’. In fact, Hindavi Swaraj is considered by many as the ideal state established by legendary Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. 

In a related development, some of the leaders of BJP have met Raj during the course of last week - and they include Harshvardhan Jadhav, the son-in-law of union minister of state and former state BJP chief Raosaheb Patil-Danve, Prakash Mahajan, the uncle of BJP leader Pankaja Munde. Both Danve and Mahajan had been MNS members in the party’s initial years.

"The Shiv Sena has left BJP and joined hands with Congress-NCP, which it has opposed. Shiv Sena spoke of Hindutva. But now MNS would like to occupy that space," political observers said, adding that any possible BJP-MNS tie-up for local polls particularly the Mumbai civic elections scheduled a couple of years later, could not be ruled out. 

However, one of the major issues is that in 2019, which was the election year, Raj has targetted prime minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister and then BJP president Amit Shah, lashed out at the Election Commission for use of EVMs.

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