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Raj formally launches new party

The former Shiv Sena leader quit the party three months ago after falling out with his cousin Uddhav Thackeray.

india Updated: Mar 19, 2006 23:14 IST

Former Shiv Sena leader Raj Thackeray Sunday formally launched his new political party -- the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) -- that he said was committed to development and communal harmony.

At a mammoth rally held at central Mumbai's Shivaji Park ground, Thackeray, 39, said he had a "blueprint for the state's development".

It is at the same ground that his uncle and Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray holds his annual 'Dusserah' rally.

The former Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena leader had announced the formation of MNS in Mumbai on March 9.

He quit the Shiv Sena three months ago after falling out with his cousin and Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray.

"We are looking at the overall development of Maharashtra where even the farmers will wear jeans and T-shirts and ride tractors," Raj Thackeray told the crowd of around 150,000 people.

Taking a dig at former Shiv Sena leader Narayan Rane who quit the party to join the Congress last year, he said, "My culture is not that of Rane where I hop parties as well as ideologies.

Thackeray said he would begin recruitment for his party in the next 15 days and would then decide the organisational structure for the new outfit.

First Published: Mar 19, 2006 23:02 IST