Heady from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackerays rally on the Mula-Mutha riverbed dwarfing Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackerays at the same spot days later,MNS leaders and workers in the city hope to translate their promise of transparency and development into votes. A cell for citizens to complain about illegal activities so that these issues can be taken up with municipal corporations is one of the election promises of the MNS.
In the partys 12-point agenda for cities holding civic elections across the state,the MNS has promised to furnish information on a monthly basis on details of plans or funds sanctioned by municipal corporations for projects. The party also promised to share information on all expenses in municipal corporations every six months,with the public.
Meanwhile,sources said the MNS camp is quite elated at the sparse attendance at the Uddhavs Tuesday rally. At the same spot on Saturday,Rajs rally was a jam-packed affair with crowds,especially youth,overflowing the river bed.
Although MNS had not raised the local-versus-outsiders issue in a big way this time,in his rally,Raj alluded to it by taking a swipe at educational institutions saying they were focusing on foreigners and people outside the state rather than Maharashtrian students. Raj claimed that Pune had turned into a Commission Nagari and Donation Nagari.
Raj has been targeting ruling parties,including Shiv Sena which rules the BMC in Mumbai,over lack of development. Taking his arguments a notch higher,Raj,in his rally,praised Gujarat CM and senior BJP leader Narendra Modi for development works in his state. Calling Modi an institution,he asked ruling party ministers in Maharashtra to learn lessons from Modi.
Raj was the only star campaigner of the MNS,which had held a written exam to select candidates. He held only one big rally for PMC and PCMC elections. His wife Sharmila Thackeray held two roadshows in the city. Shirish Parkar,MLA Ram Kadam and minority leader Haji Arafat were among other leaders who campaigned for MNS in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.
MNS officebearers say they miss crowd-puller Ramesh Wanjale,the MNS MLA who died last year. Wanjales penchant for gold had earned him the epithet of gold man and he was capable of attracting crowds. In the by-election for Wanjales seat,Khadakwasla,BJPs Bhimrao Tapkir had defeated Wanjales wife.
In Pimpri-Chinchwad,MNS had failed in 2007. This time they hope to open their account. MNS Pimpri unit chief Manoj Salunkhe says,We will win at least 11 to 12 wards.