Maharashtra polls: Are the Thackeray cousins moving towards unity?
MNS president Raj Thackeray reveals that he recently discussed a possible political alliance with estranged cousin and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray ahead of the Maharashtra assembly elections
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena president Raj Thackeray on Thursday revealed he recently discussed a possible political alliance with estranged cousin and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray ahead of the Maharashtra assembly polls October 15.
"There was a telephonic discussion with Uddhav soon after the Bharatiya Janata Party snapped the alliance (Sep 25) with Shiv Sena. We agreed to talk on the issue (of alliance). However, things did not proceed as there was no further response from them," Raj Thackeray told private TV channel ABP Majha in a discussion.
Uddhav, Balasaheb and Raj Thackeray in happier times.
The Sena gave a guarded response to Raj's statement, saying "it would be in the interest of the people of Maharashtra".
"It would definitely be in the interest of the people of Maharashtra. The situation will become clear after the election results are out," said Shiv Sena MP and party spokesperson Sanjay Raut.
Raj added that Uddhav initially displayed keen interest in alliance, but did not respond further, so the issue ground to a standstill.
The MNS chief declared his own "positive inclination" towards such an MNS-SS alliance since both parties had common goals and a similar agenda for the state.
"After all, for us, the main enemy is not the Shiv Sena. It is the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Bharatiya Janata Party," Raj contended.
In the past fortnight after the BJP broke its 25-year-old alliance with the Sena, Raj has been vociferously demanding that the Sena should withdraw its sole cabinet minister in the union cabinet, but the Sena has rebuffed him.
Senior MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar, who also maintains cordial relations with the Sena, gave an emotional reaction that such an alliance "would be like a dream come true for the people of Maharashtra and achieving the ideals of the late patriarch Bal Thackeray."
There has been immense pressure from the cadres of both parties to work unitedly in the name of the late Bal Thackeray who had always desired to see the Shiv Sena flag fluttering atop Mantralaya, the state government headquarters.
Barring a couple of occasions, both cousins have carefully avoided direct attacks on each other during the ongoing campaign for the Oct 15 state assembly elections.
Bollywood actor Nana Patekar, who has always championed the cause of unity between the warring cousins, said he was "300 percent certain they will come together" after elections for the people of the state.