Mellowed Raj Thackeray Wants to Talk to Cadre
MNS leader makes food arrangements for those attending his rally today
Call it the Narendra Modi effect. Raj Thackeray, whose hardline Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) faced a total rout in the Lok Sabha elections with all its candidates losing their deposits, has gone for a change in the way he interacts with the party cadres. Thackeray – known for issuing diktats and orders to his partymen – is holding a rally in Mumbai’s Sion area on Saturday, his first public programme after the election debacle. The MNS has put up hoardings throughout Mumbai and its outskirts with a message from him: “Come, I have to speak to you”. The mellowed manner in which Thackeray is inviting people to his rally is a far cry from the devil-may-care attitude he normally portrays. The MNS, which until now never employed vehicles to ferry its cadres to listen to his speech, has this time even made eating and staying arrangements for those who are attending the rally.
The move comes after Thackeray’s rallies in the run up to the elections saw a lukewarm response from people. Some of his rallies in Mumbai, which is his party’s base, did not even get more than 5,000 people.
Yuvraj Mohite, a journalist and political analyst, believes Thackeray is trying to “reinvent” himself. “He is trying to reinvent, because the people have realised that there is no direction or agenda that he is able to set. He wants to be known as (uncle and Shiv Sena founder) Bal Thackeray, however he should know that while people went to hear Bal Thackeray’s speeches, the latter also used to work among the people and be with his cadres.”
Raj Thackeray has to first connect with the people, because he has not been meeting them, Mohite said. “Secondly, you have to have a vision for development. In 2009, his party got more votes from people because it was seen as an alternative; now it looks like a poor copy of the Shiv Sena.”
Those close to Thackeray said the party would bounce back from its dismal performance and that the assembly elections would show a much favourable result for the party.