Raj Thackeray takes stock of MNS' strategy after poll debacle

Updated: Nov 19, 2014, 08:59 IST | Niranjan Medhekar |

During his visit to the city, the MNS chief is expected to make major changes in the party’s city unit, including a reshuffling of office bearers and conducting monthly meetings with party corporators

In the aftermath of the Assembly polls whitewash, MNS corporators and office bearers in the city are expecting their chief, Raj Thackeray, to take stock and make sweeping changes in the party strategy. The process seems to have begun already, with Thackeray’s visit to Pune yesterday.

During the visit, Thackeray is expected to interact with party members and set the party’s strategy and its internal politics right. File pic
During the visit, Thackeray is expected to interact with party members and set the party’s strategy and its internal politics right. File pic

MNS’ humble pie
This is Thackeray’s first visit to the city since the party’s humiliating defeat in the recent elections, when the party won just one seat in Junnar, in Pune district. Sources said he could stay on the city for two more days, as he interacts with local party workers and leaders and gathers their feedback on the party’s performance.

The normally media-savvy MNS chief ensured that the media was kept at bay yesterday, however. As a precaution, he arrived early in the morning at Kasba Ganpati temple, at 8 am instead of the scheduled 9.30 am slot.

At that unexpected hour, there were still a few mediapersons there, but not a single MNS office bearer was there to accompany him as he offered prayers at the temple.

Earlier, Thackeray was supposed to tour the city and interact with all office bearers and workers individually, but the plan was cancelled at the last moment and he called all the stakeholders to meet him at his residence at Law College Road instead.

To the surprise of many, during the meeting, Thackeray was in the listener’s seat as he took inputs from everyone, leaders and workers alike, to pinpoint the reasons for the party’s defeat.

Taking control
Party corporators and office bearers emphasised on the need for Thackeray’s presence in the city, and urged him to start conducting monthly meetings with all 28 of the party’s corporators.

The hope was that this would not only help to decide the party’s strategy on city development issues, but that it would also finally end the increasing friction between internal factions in the party.

Prakash Dhore, MNS city president said, “Raj saheb is interacting with each and every party worker and leader, one on one. It has almost been finalised that he will start taking monthly meetings with party corporators and leaders to focus on issues related to city development.”

Major reshuffle
The city unit of MNS will likely witness a major reshuffle in the coming days as well, as many pointed out that there need to be clearly demarcated roles for the party members. “Lack of coordination between party workers and office bearers is the main reason for the party’s defeat in the elections.

Though we have 28 corporators in the PMC, I strongly believe that MNS banks on its strong youth base that actually works on ground, and not the corporators,” said Dhore, adding that he expected several posts in the party including his own to be reshuffled following yesterday’s session.

MNS corporator Rupali Patil said, “We urged him to increase his presence in the city and start conducting monthly or bimonthly meetings with corporators. In my interaction with him, I told him how there should be a clear-cut division between corporators and office bearers.

Right now, many key positions are occupied by corporators, and they cannot give justice to the role of increasing the party base in the city.”

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