Even while Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray continues to battle for his life, the question doing the round is: will Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray come together?
For the past week, Raj has been literally living in Matoshree. In July this year, he broke the ice with Uddhav after the latter was admitted to the hospital for an angioplasty. He has been a regular at Matoshree ever since.
Many Sena and MNS functionaries are hopeful that the warring cousins will fulfil senior Thackeray’s wish and join hands.
“Uddhav and Raj took turns and came down to brief visitors on his situation. While Uddhav was talking to VIPs and the people visiting, Raj kept in touch with doctors,” said a Sena leader who was present at Matoshree.
“Although this is not the right time, many of us are hoping that this coordination moves to the political arena too just as Balasaheb wanted,” he added.
Earlier, when asked about a possible political union, the brothers had said that this was a “purely personal matter and it should be kept away from the party issue”.
However, a senior BJP leader, who was present at Matoshree, said the two did not come together at any point.
“There was no camaraderie between them. In fact, all senior MNS leaders were sitting outside the bungalow near the police chowkie, while Sena leaders were sitting in the house on the ground floor. Raj would occasionally go out to meet and update them,” he said.
Another Sena functionary explained that there was a divided opinion on Uddhav and Raj coming together.
“Sainiks close to Balasaheb think that they should join hands, whereas those close to Uddhav think Raj is a media manager who visiting his uncle only for hogging the limelight. And if Raj genuinely felt for his uncle, he would not have left the Sena,” he said.
Political analyst Surendra Jondhale said the two parties could not come together as one. “If the parties ever merge, the question of who will be the leader will remain. There can be an alliance for the 2014 elections with Sena and BJP, which might benefit both of them,” he said.