Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray’s Gudi Padwa rally on Friday, the party’s first at Shivaji Park in seven years, is being seen as a relaunch rally for the party in internal circles.
The party has booked 1,000 buses to ferry workers from across the city and an additional 500 vehicles are expected to bring workers from across the state. Thackeray is expected to spell out a revival plan for the party, which the cadre hopes he sticks to and helps get the party into action.
The rally comes a month after Thackeray’s March 9 rally, where the leader asked his cadre to burn new autos, alleging the government was giving permits to ‘outsiders’, only to put the agitation on hold two days later. His call to burn autorickshaws last month shows Thackeray may be bereft of ideas and would turn to violent agitations to galvanise his cadre.
According to aides, Thackeray is seeking to create a space where he is equidistant from both, the BJP and the Sena, unlike the past where he supported Narendra Modi’s elevation as the PM candidate. Thackeray’s constant flip-flops have left the cadre confused. “We want to be told what he wants his party to do. We don’t know where our party lies on a number of issues. There are no instructions on issues on which we should hold agitations,” said an MNS leader.
For most in the party, the upcoming Mumbai civic polls, among other four major cities of the state, are a do-or-die. “We have only one MLA, so we can’t do much in the Assembly. We need to retain Mumbai to get resources and show people we can create development. We can start preparations now, as the Sena and the BJP will continue squabbling till the polls,” said a leader.