How Will Raj Thackeray Joining In Benefit the Mahagathbandhan?

Rahul Gandhi’s attack on PM over Rafale Deal found support in MNS who questioned, is India’s ‘chowkidaar’ a thief?

Published09 Oct 2018, 12:20 PM IST
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Video Editor: Sandeep Suman

There is a lot of hue and cry over the gathbandhan in Maharashtra. There is confusion whether Shiv Sena will continue to be in alliance with the NDA. On the other hand, Raj Thackeray's party, MNS, has been trying to get closer to the Congress. Congress President Rahul Gandhi's staunch attack on PM Modi over the Rafale Deal found support in the MNS who questioned, is India's chowkidaar a thief?

MNS gave out a clear signal by supporting Rahul Gandhi’s anti-Modi agenda
MNS gave out a clear signal by supporting Rahul Gandhi’s anti-Modi agenda
(Photo: PTI)

MNS Supported Rahul Gandhi’s Anti-Modi Agenda

Going on a complete u-turn over NCP President Sharad Pawar's statement and supporting Rahul Gandhi's anti-Modi stand, MNS gave a clear indication that it wants to be a part of the Congress' gathbandhan. On 2 October, MNS workers in Mumbai sported tattoos on their wrists, that read, Mera Chowkidaar Chor Hai (my watchman is a thief).

Raj Thackeray has attacked PM Modi and Amit Shah in his Facebook posts
Raj Thackeray has attacked PM Modi and Amit Shah in his Facebook posts
(Photo: PTI)

Once a Supporter How Did Raj Thackeray Turn Anti-Modi?

It's no secret that in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Narendra Modi was the BJP's candidate for the prime minister's post, and won Raj Thackeray's support without even asking for it. But in less than a year, that is, by the end of 2015, it appears that Raj Thackeray was miffed with PM Modi. That's why recent posts and caricatures on Raj Thackeray's Facebook page attack PM Modi and Amit Shah. These posts also point out Raj Thackeray's soft corner for Rahul Gandhi.

The cartoon that Raj Thackeray had posted on his Facebook page after the verdict of the Gujarat Assembly polls showed a caricature of Rahul Gandhi, visibly taller than PM Modi and Amit Shah. Even on Gudi Padwa (the Maharashtrian New Year), holding a rally in Mumbai’s Shivaji Park, Raj Thackeray urged all Opposition parties to join hands to stop the BJP’s victory march in 2019.
The cartoon that Raj Thackeray posted on his Facebook page after the verdict of the Gujarat Assembly polls showed a caricature of Rahul Gandhi, visibly taller than PM Modi and Amit Shah.
The cartoon that Raj Thackeray posted on his Facebook page after the verdict of the Gujarat Assembly polls showed a caricature of Rahul Gandhi, visibly taller than PM Modi and Amit Shah.
(Photo: Quint Hindi)

NCP's Conditions Before Ally Congress

NCP has put a condition before ally Congress that Raj Thackeray's MNS be included in the Mahagathbandhan. But Congress, on the other hand, has not put enough weight to this condition. When I spoke to senior Congress leaders over the issue, they claimed that ahead of the 2019 polls, Congress wants the support from parties with the same ideology.

NCP has put a condition before ally Congress that Raj Thackeray’s MNS be included in the Mahagathbandhan
NCP has put a condition before ally Congress that Raj Thackeray’s MNS be included in the Mahagathbandhan
(Photo: PTI)

Why Does The NCP Want To Join Hands With MNS?

MNS has a stronghold in 68 seats in Mumbai, Thane, Konkan and Nasik. Sharad Pawar believes that to avoid division of votes, it is important to join hands with MNS because in several seats, MNS has the ability to change equations. If MNS joins hands with Congress and NCP, they can give a tough fight to the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance.

Sharad Pawar is aware that since the formation of the NCP, the party does not have the stronghold that it should have had in Mumbai.

Backdoor Alliance With MNS Possible

It is not easy for Congress and NCP to directly join hands due to MNS' anti-North Indian stand. It also sends a wrong signal outside Maharashtra. By means of a compromise formula with UPA ally NCP, that is, in urban areas such as Mumbai, Konkan and Thane, if the NCP offers some seats to MNS, the UPA can benefit. So we can say that there is a possibility of a backdoor alliance with MNS.

MNS joining hands with NCP and Congress will be beneficial.
MNS joining hands with NCP and Congress will be beneficial.
(Photo: PTI)

It is clear that even if there is a backdoor alliance between UPA and MNS, Raj Thackeray's firebrand image will benefit the UPA ahead of the elections.

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