MNS bags just one-fourth of its 2012 tally, faces uncertain future

According to political experts, MNS chief Raj Thackeray is to be blamed for the mess

mumbai Updated: Feb 24, 2017 01:37 IST
Naresh Kamath
Naresh Kamath
Hindustan Times
MNS,BMC polls,Shiv Sena
MNS party workers celebrate the win of their candidate at Global Mill Compound in Worli on Thursday.(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT )

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) continued with its downward journey as it was reduced to one fourth of its tally– it won just 7 seats – compared to the 28 it won in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls five years back . In Nashik, where it was the ruling party, its tally fell to a measly three seats from the 40 it held five years back. This is another major setback the party has received, following its crushing defeat in the 2014 assembly elections. The party is now staring at a bleak future, especially with the Sena wresting back the space ceded to it in Mumbai earlier, and BJP doing the same in Nashik and Pune.

According to political experts, MNS chief Raj Thackeray is to be blamed for the mess. “Raj Thackeray was not able to capitalise on the mandate given to him. His corporators have failed to perform and deliver the goods,” said B Ventakesh Kumar, eminent political commentator. He said that though Raj is an excellent orator, his speeches no longer translate into votes. “Raj has to reinvent himself and build his organisation in a fresh way,” he added.

This election, due to his son Amit’s illness, Raj, who was scheduled to address over 30 rallies, cut it down to just six.

According to MNS leader Nitin Sardesai, it is time for introspection. “We will analyse the results and corrective action will be taken,” said Sardesai, adding that every party goes through ups and downs.

In recent times, the MNS was plagued by defections as both in Nashik and Pune, more than half of the corporators defected, while five left the party in Mumbai. Many top leaders also deserted the MNS.

Raj, after leaving the Shiv Sena, formed his own outfit in 2006. His first election—the BMC polls in 2007 – was a disaster as he won just seven seats. However, the following year, MNS was all over the place, as Raj took up the son of soil agenda by targeting the North Indian migrants. It reaped rich dividends, and in the 2008 elections, it performed exceptionally well both in the Lok Sabha and assembly polls. It got 13 legislators in the 2008 assembly polls.

However in 2014, MNS was swept by the Narendra Modi wave in both Lok Sabha and assembly polls. It was able to get just one MLA –Sharad Sonawane elected – and even he has resigned from the party.


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First Published: Feb 24, 2017 01:36 IST