All eyes will be on the Thackeray cousins — Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and MNS chief Raj Thackeray — as they embark on statewide tours this month, the first after Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s demise. The aim for both is to strike a chord with the voters and grass-roots workers ahead of the 2014 polls.
While Uddhav kicks off his tour with a rally in Jalna on Sunday, Raj’s tour will begin a week later on February 10, with his first rally scheduled at Kolhapur on February 12.
The two-month-long tours will prove to be crucial to both to set their agendas and keep their flock together even as they stake claim to the political legacy of their mentor Bal Thackeray.
While both have listed exposing and targeting the ruling government as their main agenda for public rallies, what the they about each other, how they will take their parties forward and whether they will come together are what both the party men as well as voters want to hear.
Also, both parties are in a state of flux, which both Thackerays are aware of and might try to fix. While the Sena is facing the fear of poaching from not only the MNS but also from the NCP and the Congress, Raj’s silence over the last two months has left his cadre disillusioned.
However, leaders of both parties insist that all is well.
“Uddhavji’s focus will be on the problems of the common man and how the government has failed in its duty. That is why he will start with the drought-stricken Marathwada,” said MP Anil Desai. “He will then travel to Beed, Osmanabad and cover all revenue divisions in the state.”
Raj, his leaders say, will focus on local and youth-related issues. “He has gathered exhaustive data of drought conditions, which is currently the focus of people. He plans to woo the youth,” said an MNS legislator. Raj will visit all 35 districts including Kolhapur, Khed, Solapur, Parbhani, Jalna, Nagpur, Amravati and conclude with Jalgaon.