ADHM row: Thackeray’s MNS gains ground as Bollywood licks its wounds | india-news | Hindustan Times
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ADHM row: Thackeray’s MNS gains ground as Bollywood licks its wounds

Raj Thackeray has managed to hijack Shiv Sena’s decades-old ‘patriotism’ agenda by making Bollywood accept his diktat.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2016 07:43 IST
Surendra P Gangan
MNS workers stage protest at a cineplex against the release of the film ‘Ye Dil Mushkil’ in Nagpur.
MNS workers stage protest at a cineplex against the release of the film ‘Ye Dil Mushkil’ in Nagpur.(PTI File Photo)

With Bollywood producers bowing to his diktat and even the chief minister mediating to ensure the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray appears to have scored a big win.

Saturday’s development surprised many as the MNS threat to ransack multiplexes did not seem serious — Mumbai police were already prepared to pre-empt any violent protests. Even political analysts did not give much significance to the party’s stand because Thackeray’s threats in the recent past have just remained threats. In this background, Thackeray managed to score well by sending out the message that his party was still a strong force in Mumbai.

Read | Ae Dil Hai Mushkil to release after producers say won’t work with Pak actors

The entire episode helped the MNS raise its importance in the political arena. Not only was the state government a mute spectator, it also endorsed the ‘unconstitutional way’ of settling the issue. But analysts see more politics than governance as the reason behind chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ action.

By convening a meeting of the film producers with Thackeray at his official residence, Fadnavis killed two birds with one stone. He managed to broker peace ahead of Diwali by ensuring the film’s smooth release while allowing the MNS to gain political mileage out of the controversy.

The episode highlighted the rising camaraderie between BJP and MNS in the state over the last couple of years and, more importantly, when crucial Mumbai civic polls are just three months away. Analysts feel it is a deliberate attempt by Fadnavis as his party attempts to cut its ally, the Shiv Sena, to size. Both Sena and MNS share the same voter base — the Marathi ‘manoos’ in Mumbai. If Thackeray’s party eats into the Sena’s share, the BJP, contesting on its own, will find it easier to outsmart its partner in the civic polls.

“The MNS has successfully hijacked the Shiv Sena’s decades-old agenda of so-called patriotism by appearing to have won the battle against the film producers. The party, at an all-time low since it was formed 10 years ago, has definitely got a political boost...” said a Sena leader.

Read | Ae Dil Hai Mushkil gets green signal, but B-Town bows to Raj Thackeray over Rs 5-crore ‘penance’