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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Lok Sabha elections 2024 Raj Thackerays contradictory Gudi Padwa speech leaves cadre upset voters confused

Lok Sabha elections 2024: Raj Thackeray’s contradictory Gudi Padwa speech leaves cadre upset, voters confused

Updated on: 11 April,2024 06:45 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Rajendra B. Aklekar |

They feel last great hope for Marathi asmita has fallen

Lok Sabha elections 2024: Raj Thackeray’s contradictory Gudi Padwa speech leaves cadre upset, voters confused

Raj Thackeray addresses party workers at the Gudi Padwa rally at Shivaji Park on Tuesday. Pic/Rane Ashish

Two key contradictions in the political stance and an unanswered question have thrown Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) into a tizzy! The contradictions include seldom contesting elections officially and disputing their own stand of asking not to give votes to anyone that splits other parties, while simultaneously seeking support from the BJP. The unanswered question pertains to how votes will translate by switching the party from one extreme to the other.

A 360-degree turn in Thackeray’s political stance during his Gudi Padwa speech at Shivaji Park on Tuesday has left his party cadre upset and the voter base hurt and confused, seeking answers. They state that the last hope for Marathi “asmita” (pride) and Maharashtra has finally fallen.

Thackeray, in his speech, announced “unconditional support” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the state’s Mahayuti alliance for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. He stated that the MNS will not contest Lok Sabha polls but did not rule out contesting Assembly elections slated to be held later this year, urging his party members to start working towards it.

Raj with DCM Devendra Fadnavis. File pic/Sameer MarkandeRaj with DCM Devendra Fadnavis. File pic/Sameer Markande

Within hours of Thackeray’s speech, MNS general secretary Kirtikumar Shinde tendered his resignation on Wednesday morning, opposing Thackeray’s decision to support the BJP. He stated that “BhaMoSha” (BJP-Modi and Shah) had “ruined” the country.

Whenever MNS used to lose any seat in polls, Thackeray used to give examples of the BJP in the 80s, showcasing their resilience. Even yesterday, he contradicted himself in his speech by asking his party members and voters not to endorse the kind of politics prevalent in Maharashtra and then sought support for Narendra Modi and the BJP, which has been leading splits in state parties.

“It was like giving a war cry to his army and then, when they assemble, telling them that we are not fighting and backing out. His entire speech was like a criminal trying to defend himself in court. It was unexpected and unnecessary for him to criticise the media that had made him a hero. Regarding his political stance, he was not even defending himself properly, but just making an unconvincing attempt. He has shattered the hopes of many,” political analyst Prakash Akolkar said.

Political commentator and Lokmat’s Senior Assistant Editor Sandeep Pradhan felt that Raj Thackeray’s support to the BJP was a strategic move to weaken Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. “One thing is clear: his party could not align with the alliance where Uddhav’s Sena has been. He had to join the other one. He has given a clear call to his party cadre that they should support the BJP and not Shinde Sena. Given his background, Thackeray’s allegiance has always been with the BJP, and the only way to weaken Shinde’s influence eventually was to have a Thackeray onboard the existing alliance, and this is exactly what he has done,” Pradhan said.

“Raj Thackeray seems confused every five years, always confusing his voter base and cadre. Just when you think Raj Thackeray is doing right, he takes a U-turn. This move was expected after his visit to Delhi, but then why exert so much effort and hold rallies about Marathi pride and businesses going away to Gujarat?” a commentator said.

“It seems your stand has been taken as a politician. Nothing happened in Maharashtra’s interest today. Why is there no mention of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial? He started politics in support of the Marathi people 18 years ago and ended up supporting Modi. Quite a fall,” another commentator said.

MNS leader resigns

“Five years ago, Rajsaheb Thackeray vehemently opposed BJP-Modi-Shah during the frenzy of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. It was a very important time for me (politically). During those days, I attended all the public ‘Lav Re To Video’ meetings held by him and wrote detailed articles about the facts and thoughts he presented against BJP-Modi-Shah in the meetings. I sincerely tried to make his stance known to more and more people,” party general secretary and leader Kirtikumar Shinde said.

“Today, at a very crucial moment in the history and democracy of the country, Rajsaheb has changed his political role. How much of it is wrong, how much of it is right, political analysts will tell. Well, nowadays, leaders can take any political stand. But what about all those like us who believed in him? It is our defeat. What about that?” Shine added.

“In the last 10 years, especially in the last 5 years, ‘BhaMoSha’ has ruined the country. There has been no transparency, only threats of ED, CBI, and Income Tax investigations. Rajsaheb Thackeray taking the side of ‘BhaMoSha’ may be a political necessity for the party’s existence, but it is unlikely that there will be any benefit for Maharashtra’s Marathi people. His stance may be right in power politics, for the survival of MNS and himself, but the side he has taken is correct,” Shinde said.

“Why has MNS become Maharashtra Namonirman Sena? Why is Raj Thackeray supporting and welcoming Modi? Which of his files have been opened, and why has he surrendered like this? He should answer the people,” Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut said.

BJP has scored a self-goal

Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi  president Prakash Ambedkar said BJP had scored a self-goal by seeking Raj Thackeray’s support, as people from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and south India would not approve. “They (MNS and undivided Shiv Sena) staged protests against south Indians and north Indians. They were attacked, and beaten. How do you expect them to forget it? These people will not vote for the BJP,” he said.

Ambedkar said he was waiting for the equations in Mumbai to change (in the wake of MNS support). “It was because of it that I did not announce candidates for Mumbai’s constituencies. I will declare them by Thursday,” he said.

Year Raj opposed Modi during general election

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