Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray is currently having the last laugh as the Shiv Sena is making efforts to woo him, seeking his support for the Mumbai mayor polls.
The MNS has indicated that it may support the Shiv Sena in the civic body.
While Raj has maintained his distance from the media, his Man Friday Bala Nandgaonkar has been dropping subtle hints, assuring the Shiv Sena of the party’s support. “I would like to see a Shiv Sena man become the mayor. After all, my origins can be traced back to the Shiv Sena,” said Nandgaonkar.
Two days ago, Nandgaonkar said Raj will take a call on the issue, keeping in mind the welfare of the Marathi manoos.
The Shiv Sena desperately needs the support of the MNS’ seven corporators to run the show in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The Shiv Sena, which has 84 corporators, has been aggressively trying to cobble up a majority of 114 in the 227-member house. To gain Raj’s support, the party will have to accommodate MNS men in vital committees. “Raj will definitely demand his pound of flesh in exchange for his support,” said political expert Surendra Jondhale.
Shiv Sena leaders have been trying to convince Uddhav Thackeray that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with its 82 corporators, is currently a bigger threat than the MNS.
Raj was angry with his cousin and Shiv Sena president Uddhav for spurning his alliance offer prior to the civic polls. Uddhav did not even pick up his calls at the time. Raj has not lost a single opportunity to sarcastically remind Shiv Sena intermediaries that Uddhav is responsible for the impasse as the party could have easily crossed the magic figure if the MNS and the Shiv Sena had formed an alliance.