Following Shiv Sena’s debacle in Mumbai and Thane in the Lok Sabha polls, Sena chief Bal Thackeray has snapped ties with his nephew Raj Thackeray who heads the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
The Shiv Sena lost all three seats it contested in Mumbai; it also lost the seats in Thane and Nashik (one each). In each of these constituencies, MNS candidates polled more than one lakh votes, affecting Shiv Sena candidates’ prospects.
This is for the first time in three decades that the Shiv Sena did so miserably in the Mumbai-Thane belt, which is seen as its stronghold.
The situation is particularly alarming for the party as Thane and Mumbai will be electing 60 out of 288 seats in the state assembly. The figures of the Lok Sabha election results indicate that the region may no longer remain the Shiv Sena’s stronghold.
Shiv Sena leaders are irked over the way the MNS is eating into their vote share.
“I built the Sena for the unity of the Marathi manoos. I would not care even for my blood relation if anyone is creating a divide among the Maharashtrians for his selfish motive,” Thackeray said in a statement.
“The enemy of Marathi manoos is my enemy as well. There is no way I can keep in touch with such a person.”
Thackeray also disowned senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi’s comments in a television interview that the former was in touch with Raj.
The Shiv Sena’s vote share has come down by three per cent in the state while the MNS earned four per cent votes, mostly in Mumbai and Thane.
The ailing Shiv Sena chief did not participate in the campaign this time. His son, Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray, campaigned for the party which won 11 seats — mostly in central Maharashtra.
While Raj did not choose to react on Thackeray’s outburst, MNS spokesperson Nitin Sardesai said: “We do not want to comment on the personal relations in the family. However, as far as Marathi votes are concerned, they are not a monopoly of the Shiv Sena.”
Sardesai said the MNS got the votes because it was “fighting for the cause of Marathi people for past two years, which the Shiv Sena had ignored”.
Shiv Sena sources said Uddhav is likely to make a statement on Wednesday.