Maharashtra: Not 'Sarkar Raj', but close enough | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Maharashtra: Not 'Sarkar Raj', but close enough

mumbai Updated: Oct 23, 2009 15:07 IST

For a three-year-old party to diminish the aura surrounding a four-decade-old outfit that has been synonymous with 'Marathi pride' so far, was a mammoth task but Raj Thackeray and his Maharashtra Navanirman Sena did just that.

The MNS dashed the hopes of Raj's estranged cousin and Shiv Sena Executive President Uddhav, who has to carry forward his father Bal Thackeray's legacy, by bagging 13 seats in their maiden assembly poll foray.

Sena citadels in Mumbai and Thane have crumbled under Raj's assault. The ruling combine beat incumbency blues, just one short of the magic figure of 145 in the 288-member House.

In Mumbai alone, where the MNS scored around 24 per cent votes, leaving Sena (18 per cent) behind, Raj's outfit, in its maiden foray in the assembly polls prevented the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance from winning 11 seats.

The MNS marred Sena's prospects by not only splitting the "Marathi" vote but also emerging as the second largest party in Mumbai with six seats, ahead of Sena's tally of 4.

Before the elections, Raj had announced that no government could be formed without his support. That did not happen but the MNS chief can take solace in the fact that the results of the assembly polls indicate the true inheritor of Bal Thackeray's legacy.

With two seats behind BJP's tally of 46, the Sena may now have to concede the Opposition Leader's post to its saffron ally.