The Irony That Is Raj Thackeray

Mr.Raj Thackeray is perhaps the most volatile leader when it comes to politics in Maharashtra and because of his outspoken comments, often he finds himself in a very lonely spot. The recently concluded assembly elections in Maharashtra have completely driven Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) to the ground because they have managed to win only 1 seat. Everyone knows that the Shiv Sena has a fairly good spread in Maharashtra but not entirely over the state because of geo politics within the state. But MNS is one such party who barely had any traction outside of Mumbai and decided contest in almost all the seats (232 contested). It was the same mistake APP made during General Elections when they decided to field candidates on almost all constituencies.

The MNS did poorly during the municipal elections held in Mumbai and in the general elections. So how come Raj Thackeray never changed his strategy for state elections. Let’s face it he will never figure in the national scene and will always remain a local player. This is the same party which won 13 seats back in 2009 and one can call a good beginning. But what happens when you are reduced to nothing even in your own locality.

The Shiv Sena revolved around its founder Bal Thackeray who managed to achieve cult status but Raj Thackeray is nothing like Bal Thackeray when it comes to political wheeling and dealing and has always been a cow boy who shoots off his mouth before realizing the implications. He was never inclusive, but combative. He has always alienated, never embraced. When Bal Thackeray used to make those incendiary comments the political situation was different and society was different. What worked 20 years back, might not work today.

Raj Thackeray has never learned this lesson and keeps repeating the same mistakes. The number of counterproductive and contradictive statements he has made over and over only lessened his value. Instead of talking about policy and development, he spent time going after his opponents and Shiv Sena.

His tactic of supporting Narendra Modi but disrupting the BJP’s Maharashtra unit was a bad move. Modi had spent quite a lot of time to win elections in Maharashtra which will have direct impact on Bihar and West Bengal. So when so much is invested on this one state by the biggest party in the country, why would they use the same trick from the playbook?

MNS has lost a golden opportunity this time because the incumbent Congress and Nationalistic Congress (NCP) Party had made a hash out of their campaign with poor leadership. Raj Thackeray should have taken advantage of this, but he did not. The NCP is still breathing and Sharad Pawar has now political significance because the BJP failed to meet the target which was expected. By many accounts Raj Thackeray must be feeling unimaginable loneliness in the political circle and one cannot even began to feel the agony he must be in right now and the wilderness he could be thrown too. MNS could have easily been the kingmaker but now he and his party are the bottom dwellers.