Raj Thackeray’s latest campaign targeting the Bachchans is simply another effort to keep the issue he raised the flooding of Mumbai by non-Maharashtrians, whose loyalty to the city, he claims, is in doubt alive.
How many takers there are for his argument will be known when the parliamentary and assembly elections in the state are held within a year. But what is known is that he is not the sole contender for this section of voters — his Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has to contend with the bigger and older Shiv Sena. He needs to snatch away Sena votes to make himself relevant, and thus must outdo the Sena at its own game.
Knowing what he is up to, the Sena is reacting the way it slammed Jaya Bachchan and Dilliwala Shah Rukh Khan on Tuesday are indications enough.
But why blame the Sena alone? No political party has come out strongly against Raj Thakeray’s chauvinism. Obviously there is a votebank that subscribes to Raj Thakeray's views and no party wants to alienate it altogether.
There is no point in denying it: there is a growing sense of insecurity among Maharashtrians across most of the state at the influx of non-Maharashtrians, who are drawn by the jobs rapid industrialisation is throwing up. Their sheer numbers, like it or not, are bringing about vital changes in the demography of these areas.