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MNS blueprint fails to connect with voters

MNS managed to win only Junnar (district Pune) Assembly seat while in 2009, the party had won 13 seats.

The 2014 elections in Maharashtra have clearly indicated that there cannot be two players riding the same plank of “Marathi Manoos”. At the outset, it is evident that people have preferred Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray over MNS president Raj Thackeray. Out of the 288 seats,

MNS managed to win only Junnar (district Pune) Assembly seat while in 2009, the party had won 13 seats. Having failed to retain its turf, the party now faces questions about its future.

MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar said, “Polls and organisational work are two different things. An election outcome cannot become a parameter to judge the future of an party which connects with the sons of the soil.”

In the 2009 elections, the MNS was a key player as it not only won 13 seats but also played the role of a spoiler giving advantage to the ruling Congress and NCP. The MNS has always targeted the same 26 per cent vote bank in Mumbai which is the traditional base of Sena.

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The going was tough for Raj Thackeray from the very start this time. After the Lok Sabha elections in which the party lost deposits in all the 10 seats it had contested, the Assembly elections became a battle for survival. The defeat of Nitin Sardesai (Mahim) and Bala Nandgaonkar (Sewri), among others, was an indication that people preferred Sena over MNS. “The results are very surprising and we will have to analyse what went wrong,” said Nandgaonkar. With the breaking up of alliances, many in MNS believed that they would stand a better chance in the multi-cornered contest between Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena and BJP.

Raj Thackeray approached the electorate, pleading for a chance. But his assurances failed to connect with the people as they did not see him as an alternative. While the MNS banked completely on its well-researched blueprint for Maharashtra, Raj Thackeray could not put it across assertively before the people.

The anti-Narendra Modi campaign of the MNS, which was identical to that of the Sena, appeared to send the signal that the estranged cousins — Uddhav and Raj — were working together. Given a choice, the Marathi voters preferred the elder brother Uddhav over Raj.

First published on: 20-10-2014 at 03:13:27 am
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