The fight for Maharashtra just turned into warfare. On the state’s golden jubilee, the Shiv Sena called for an official face-off with their homegrown nemesis — the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
In what is being called the ‘Senas ka Saamna’, touted within political circles as a bigger and bloodier battle than that of the Indian T20 cricket team versus Afghanistan, the two political parties will slug it out to emerge as the true face of the Marathi people.
The competition will see the rival parties compete in several challenges.
The organisers have promised that the tasks will be exciting, innovative and entertaining, containing as much eye-popping violence as possible, which is why improving Maharashtra’s education and infrastructure, and promoting harmony, do not figure in any of the tasks.
A panel of neutral political bigwigs, such as Sharad Pawar and Ashok Chavan, will rate both the teams’ performances in each task and crown the winner at the end of the decade-long contest.
The first round, held on Maharashtra’s 50th anniversary, is based on the ‘star power’ of each party.
Points were accorded to the team that had managed to frighten enough stars into performing for them.
The Shiv Sena's long and fruitful association with the Hindi film industry — including their tirades against Shah Rukh Khan and Jaya Bachchan — helped them rope in Bollywood stars and Lata Mangeshkar for a mega musical concert.
Not to be outdone, the MNS organised a ceremony felicitating cricketing icons such as Sachin Tendulkar, Dilip Vengsarkar and Sunil Gavaskar. While the Shiv Sena scored high on the entertainment quotient, bookies favour the MNS especially as they timed the function with the start of the T20 Cricket World Cup.
The next round is a food-based challenge that will check for authenticity of taste and presentation of local snacks.
While the Shiv Sena is sticking to the time-tested success of the vada pav, the MNS is trying to popularise the less glamourous poha. Odds are stacked against the MNS on this one, with the vada pav emerging as the local favourite.
The third round will test the team players’ physical prowess and mob power.
The task will see each team picking on an unarmed and usually helpless prey to demonstrate their skills in combat. Weapons are restricted to bare hands, sticks and stones.
The MNS are likely to go for their favourite quarries — the migrant taxi and autorickshaw driver. The Shiv Sena is contemplating finding new victims since Valentines Day is a long way off.
The fourth round will judge the teams on their ability to rename as many streets and institutions in Mumbai as possible.
Well, Maharashtra Day is here. Let the games begin.