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Raj pulls a huge crowd,causes jitters around

A day after Rahul Gandhi,Sharad Pawar and Raj Thackeray held election meetings,almost around the same time in the city...

A day after Rahul Gandhi,Sharad Pawar and Raj Thackeray held election meetings,almost around the same time in the city,political pundits were left scratching their heads in confusion as it was the young Thackeray who proved to be the biggest crowd puller.

While nobody is betting that this will hold a direct correlation with the voting pattern,on Friday the Shiv Sena was hard-pressed to try and ensure that a decent number gathered for Uddhav’s rally,scheduled at the same venue as his cousin a day before.

While the Congress men in the city had to work hard to hold back crowd for six hours for Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s public meeting,Raj Thackeray’s three public meetings at three different places in the city witnessed mammoth gathering without any special efforts. On the other hand,Pawar’s public meetings saw a moderate gathering.

Workers of all parties were busy discussing the Raj phenomenon and the ways to tackle it on Friday. The busiest lot among them were Shiv Sainiks,as Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray will hold a meeting at the same place in Kothrud on Sunday where his cousin pulled a mammoth crowd on Thursday.

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“We are working out ways to manage the crowd. The biggest challenge is the timing of the meeting. It is scheduled at 2.30 pm,” said a senior Sena leader.

He admitted that crowd gathered at Raj Thackeray’s public meeting — despite two other big public meetings — taking place had sent some jitters in the party. “We have now planned to meet some influential people who can bring good votes for our party candidates,” he said.

Shiv Sena leader Arvind Sawant said there would be no effect on Sena voting. “People go for Raj’s meetings as they are an entertainment. However,voters know the difference between real and superficial,” he said.

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Congress and NCP workers are also busy gauging Raj’s mass appeal. “No doubt the crowd was big but how much it holds till the voting day needs to be seen,” said an NCP leader.

BJP city president and Kasba Peth candidate Girsih Bapat too said he doesn’t need to do his maths. He stressed that the Kasba constituency had in all only 7 per cent voters in the age group of 18 to 25,which are considered potential MNS voters.

The MNS reacted in a one liner. “People need transformation and it will happen through MNS,” said city spokesperson Sachin Pawar.

First published on: 10-10-2009 at 11:06:23 pm
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