Maharashtra Navanirman Sena Chief Raj Thackeray’s decision to attend a rally of migrants from North India and reach out and connect with them, created a buzz on Sunday with all national media brands giving publicity to the event. Many wondered why suddenly Raj Thackeray reached out to the very community whom he has been talking against for the past 12-13 years.
Many are wondering why Raj Thackeray suddenly decided to reach out to the migrants and open some dialogue with them. It’s a known fact that Raj has been changing his political stand on many subjects in the past few years, it’s not new for him to surprise political observers and his party activists by suddenly doing something unexpected. On last Sunday Raj was seen reaching out to the migrants from northern parts of the country living in Mumbai. Raj made it clear that he does not want to apologise for any of the things done by his party workers in the past years but it was an attempt to make his stand clear to them on why he has harshly targeted them. And he did this part well. He delivered a seemingly convincing speech about how he does not have any prejudice against any linguistic community or class of people.
Now it seems relevant to figure out why Raj suddenly chose to do this. Why is he seen reaching out to the north Indian migrants? Most political observers say there are two or three reasons behind this. Firstly experts say Raj is now realising that his party’s voter base is shrinking and the number of his party’s elected representatives is on the decline. In the first assembly elections that Raj Thackeray’s MNS party fought in 2009 he could win 13 seats in the state. In the Municipal polls of 2012 his party won large number of seats in Pune, Nashik, Thane and Mumbai.
However in 2014 assembly polls Raj’s Maharashtra Navanirman Sena could win only one seat and in 2017 Municipal polls his numbers drastically fell. So now Raj realises that just pushing the son of the soil agenda and issue of Marathi may not be working for him in the coming elections and he has to widen his voter base. The second reason behind this change of heart we see in Raj Thackeray, seems to be the realisation that Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray is now deviating from his earlier stand of fighting the upcoming polls in alliance with the BJP and showing indications that after all he will be fighting as an alliance partner of BJP.
This means that the BJP now does not need Raj Thackeray’s tacit support which earlier they were planning to depend on. In case Shiv Sena went away from the BJP. The plan BJP had was to use Raj Thackeray against Uddhav. Now with that possibility diminishing Raj can sense that he may have to get closer to the Congress led UPA in order to survive in the future.
With the new dynamics of Uddhav Thackeray aligning more and more with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in the past few days, now instead of the BJP using Raj Thackeray against the Shiv Sena, now it will be the Congress and NCP using Raj against the Shiv Sena! Before that can happen the UPA parties want Raj to make his face more acceptable to all communities and linguistic groups. That’s exactly Raj is seen working towards in the past few weeks!