People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 41

October 11, 2009

Shiv Sainiks Caught In Fear Of Raj Thackeray


From N S Arjun


WITH hardly a week left for polling, the major buzz among Shiv Sainiks everywhere is how much damage their former leader and present MNS president Raj Thackeray would inflict on their bid for power in alliance with the BJP. Talk to any Shiv Sainik, one can sense a feeling of trepidation, a palpable nervousness that they will be hit very badly by Raj Thackeray factor.


Shekar Kore, Shiv Sena division president in Palgarh, Thane district is manning the election office of Shiv Sena candidate in Dahanu. He spoke confidently about his party's chances in this seat and why the opponents would face defeat etc. Asked about his party's prospects at the state level, the demenaour changed immediately. He candidly admits that Raj Thackeray may damage their prospects much more than he did in the recent Lok Sabha polls. The Shiv Sena-BJP combine lost at least 8 seats due to MNS presence.


But what was shocking was about this Shiv Sena leader's attitude towards Raj Thackeray. No, he is not at all angry or bitter about him, as one would naturally expect. In fact, he was profuse in his praise for Raj Thackeray. Almost nostalgically, he says Raj reminds him of Balasaheb in his younger days! And reels off a list of positives of Raj Thackeray as a leader. The final touch, if one could say that, was his almost blushing statement that his leader Uddhav Thackeray does not possess such qualities.


Both Uddhav and Raj are slugging it out in the media, of course over non-issues. Fundamentally there is no difference in their outlook; they differ only in the manner and the intensity with which their sectarian agenda is pushed. But one good thing about this slugfest has been the spilling out into open their financial dealings. Raj Thackeray in partnership with senior Shiv Sena leader and former Lok Sabha speaker Manohar Joshi's son had bought Kohinoor Mills land in Dadar for a whopping Rs 421 crore. It may be recalled that in a sinister design, all the textile mills in Worli area of Mumbai were shut throwing thousands of mill workers out of work. Later the government facilitated the sale of these lands by the mill owners, who in a land-scarce Mumbai made a killing of thousands of crores in these deals. And one of the benefeciaries has been Raj Thackeray & Co who is now bringing up a glittering mall in the mill land. The landscape of the entire area has changed after this sale, with one high rise after another occupying this �Mill Road�. Uddhav has now openly alleged that Raj has been investing his returns from these real estate deals in Dubai! He questioned why Raj is not investing that money in Mumbai itself as per his championing the cause of 'Marathi manoos' (Marathi man). He also demanded that 80 per cent of flats and offices being built by Raj Thackeray must be reserved for Marathis! Of course, Uddhav sidestepped the question about his own senior party leader's son involved in the deal.


The Congress-NCP camp is gleefully watching from sidelines this �war of words�. They desperately hope that Raj will be able to split Sena-BJP combine vote in sufficient numbers to help them overcome the expected strong anti-incumbency vote. There are reports that this camp is even coordinating with Raj Thackeray to achieve their aim. That the state government has treated with kid gloves Raj despite his blatant and repeated lawlessness, is in itself a proof about this camp's gameplan. However, one hopes, in the interest of people of Maharashtra, that Raj Thackeray doesn't turn out Maharashtra's Bhindranwale.