They are cousins and they are political rivals. This is a fact that supporters of Uddhav and Raj Thackeray may have to live with, as going by indications rumours of Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) coming together are likely to remain just that.
Raj Thackeray’s absence from the truck carrying his uncle Bal Thackeray’s mortal remains became a point of intense debate on Sunday itself. The move is significant going by certain developments that morning, said an office bearer from MNS.
According to him, a large number of party workers gathered at Raj’s residence Krishna Kunj, who were supposed to reach Matoshree around 6 am, were asked to stay back. Most of them were astonished as they had expected to partake in the funeral procession. But, in the end, approximately 1,000 MNS workers couldn’t attend the ceremony.
Apart from maintaining a distance with the pallbearers, Raj also left the funeral procession midway and headed home, only to show up at Shivaji Park after some time. He was nowhere to be seen yesterday when Uddhav reached the cremation spot to collect his father’s ashes.
“We are neither keen, nor hopeful of Shiv Sena and MNS coming together. In fact, MNS can push forward with its Marathi agenda, which has received huge support,” said the MNS office bearer.
On the other hand, Shiv Sena representatives say the party would prefer to continue with its Hindutva programme. “We are not very eager about Raj aligning with Sena. He wishes to maintain his own identity,” said a Shiv Sena worker.