Good but not good enough, is how Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray can describe his party's performance. Though he turned out to be neither a king, nor a kingmaker in these polls, Thackeray’s MNS secured an impressive 28 seats, a four-fold increase from 2007.
The MNS also emerged as the single largest party in Nashik but is 22 short of seats required to stake claim to power. In Pune, the MNS secured 28 seats to finish second after the NCP.
Thackeray said he was satisfied with the result, but admitted he would introspect. “I will analyse the results and action will follow. Heads will roll. Non-performers will not be spared,” he warned.
Political analysts said more needs to be done. “These results have proved that Raj’s charisma alone cannot ensure a win. He needs to work on the organisational front,” said veteran political analyst Prakash Bal. “MNS corporators should work as responsible opposition and showcase their work instead of merely criticising others,” he added. In his election speeches, Raj targeted his cousin Uddhav for the shoddy state of affairs in the BMC.
However, these elections have established the credentials of Sena’s grassroot network. “In Sena, Balasaheb gives an order and the workers follow it. But the same is not evident in the MNS,” rued Bal.
MNS legislator from Sewri Bala Nandgaonkar agreed with the analysis. “We failed at the ground level. Our cadres did not perform well and took things lightly,” admitted Nandgaonkar, who was unable to get a single corporator elected from his constituency. Veteran political commentator Nilu Damle said that MNS could act as an aggressive opposition party. “His corporators can raise hell in various civic committees and make their presence felt in civic bodies,” Damle said. “Today, you cannot elect the Mayor of Nashik without the support of the MNS,” he reminded.