The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has decided to strengthen its organisational structure and expand its base after dismal outings in two major elections in 2014 and a series of exits from the party.
Desperate to retain its base in Mumbai in the 2017 civic polls, the party has now decided to appoint area-specific leaders who will be in-charge of all seats in those areas. It has appointed leaders whose task it will be to deliver in their particular areas. The party has also attempted to expand its base by creating an agriculture wing, called the Maharashtra Navnirman Shetkari Sena.
This experiment will be kicked off in Mumbai, where the party has 27 corporator seats. Desperate to retain those, the MNS has appointed leaders who will be in-charge of 6 to 12 corporator seats. In fact, insiders said the party is looking at mass desertions in the next few months, with sitting corporators looking to switch to the BJP and the Shiv Sena.
Such an organisation shake-up has been necessitated since it has no Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) in the city any more, leading to a huge vacuum in the party’s chain of command.
Nitin Sardesai, a close aide of party chief Raj Thackeray, said, “This is a new system that we have tried to establish. These leaders will be responsible for ensuring proper functioning of local units in their areas.” Sardesai said these leaders will be in-charge of supervising and monitoring these units’ workings and report to the party leadership. “The idea is that there must be an intermediary between the party leadership and the local unit, who watches them closely. At present, there is poor communication between these units and the top leaders, which is why workers often find Rajsaheb unreachable,” said a party leader.
However, not many are convinced with Thackeray’s new plan to save the party from a severe drubbing. “There are very few loyal workers who are remaining in the party. It is not enough to just appoint another level of leaders. We need a roadmap for the party, an agenda for us to function on,” said a mid-level party leader.
In addition, the party’s decision to have a separate unit focusing on agrarian issues is targeted towards consolidating rural support.
“We had a cell which used to look at these issues. With this new unit, we will be able to focus better,” said Sardesai.