The 2017 civic body polls is a do-or-die for the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and its chief Raj Thackeray.
After back-to-back defeats in elections, Raj has decided to visit party offices across Mumbai to give party workers a bosst and gauge the mood of the people — much like his cousin and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.
Raj began his drive at the party’s Worli office and also visited the Byculla unit on Monday. Senior party leaders said the motive was to establish direct contact with the local worker.
“We were all asked to step outside as Rajsaheb wanted to talk directly with the workers,” said Arvind Gawde, in charge of the Byculla assembly segment.
“Iron out your differences and make MNS the winner,” Raj reportedly told his workers. “We need to fight for the Marathi Manoos.”
Sources said Raj was told of how low-level party workers were being ignored by local leaders. Further, of 28 corporators elected to the BMC in 2012, only 23 remain, as five quit. MNS fears the defectors may woo unhappy workers.
Political analysts have called this a desperate measure. “The 2017 BMC elections are a litmus test for the MNS as it will determine its political survival,” said noted political commentator Surendra Jondhale. “Raj’s tours come too late, as both the BJP and the Shiv Sena are aggressively placed to fight these elections.”
Political analysts also blamed Raj for his party’s plight, because despite the loss in the 2014 parliamentary and assembly elections, the MNS was not able to get back on its feet even after two years.