The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, currently at its lowest ebb, has reportedly changed the direction of its party symbol — the Railway Engine.
It is seen as an attempt to revive its dipping fortunes before the upcoming civic elections, with some sources calling it the ‘Vaastu’ effect. Experts, said sources, suggested a railway engine running from ‘right to left’ will benefit the party.
“We initially had the symbol running right to left and we also had good success in the 2009 polls and the 2012 civic polls. But after that, when we changed the direction, we really suffered. Some vaastu experts suggested we should change the direction, and hence we did,” said a party leader, not wishing to be named.
Party leader Shirish Sawant, however, was evasive. “There may be some party leaders who must have changed the direction, but there is nothing official about it,” Sawant said.
The changed logo has been spotted at Pune, where the MNS will hold a massive public meeting next week that will be addressed by its chief Raj Thackeray. While Thackeray has been posturing against superstitious beliefs, he is said to have agreed to the change.
After a spectacular performance in the 2009 polls — where the party could not open an account, but polled a significant number of votes — the election commission gave it the symbol of a railway engine that ran from right to left. The same year, it won 13 seats in the Maharashtra Assembly elections. Three years later, in the 2012 civic polls, the MNS was able to get 28 corporators elected to the Mumbai civic body.
And then, it started falling. The symbol was changed on the grounds that it was a little misleading and less visible. “It looked like a road roller upon closer inspection,” was what some party leaders had said. The party fared poorly in the 2014 elections, its tally fell to 1. Now, some party leaders have advocated suggested changing the direction again.
The party is now facing a do-or-die situation in the 2017 BMC polls slated within the next three months. Both ruling parties, the Shiv Sena and the BJP, planning to fight the polls separately, have already started their campaigns unofficially. And the MNS, facing a spate of desertions by corpoartors and low morale, is yet to make their presence felt.
The question is: Will changing the direction of its railway engine revive Raj’s fortunes?