BJP sees political gains by betting big on Raj for claiming Balasaheb Thackeray's legacy

Mumbai, May 17 (IANS): The presence of MNS chief Raj Thackeray in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Mumbai rally on Friday, ahead of polling in six constituencies in the metropolis, is seen as the BJP's calculated move to project that the party is aligned not only with 'asli' (real) Shiv Sena led by Eknath Shinde but also with a leader who is the real claimant of Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray’s legacy, his Hindutva and "Marathi Manoos" USP.

It was also the BJP’s attempt to corner Shiv Sena-UBT chief Uddhav Thackeray for "compromising" on Hindutva to get power by joining hands with the Congress and the NCP.

The BJP and Raj Thackeray, along with MahaYuti partners, strongly hope to get political mileage from this association and therefore, they are betting big on Raj Thackeray laying claim on Balasaheb Thackeray’s legacy to elect a maximum number of MPs to achieve the 400-plus Mission and later retain power in Maharashtra in Assembly elections slated for September-October this year.

The BJP’s move to join hands with Raj Thackeray is to "expose the unholy’’ nexus between Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and Congress with a tagline 'Congress ka saath Pakistan ke saath and Shiv Sena- UBT’s saath with Muslims".

It also seeks to attack Uddhav Thackeray for beginning his speech not with "Jamlelya Tamam Hindu Bandhavano, Bhaginino and Matano (My Hindu brother, sisters and mothers)" but now by ''Deshbhakt Bandhavano, Bhaginino, and Matano".

By taking Raj Thackeray on board, the BJP also has stepped up its efforts to increase its share in the Maratha vote bank not just during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections but also in the upcoming Assembly polls,

It was also an attempt to send a message to Uddhav Thackeray that his party was not the sole claimant of protector of "Marathi Manoos" but the BJP-MNS combine, and the MahaYuti in general, is well suited to protect the interest of the "Marathi Manoos" with the double engine government.

This is important as the Marathi-speaking population in Mumbai stands presently at the top at 35.96 per cent, but is expected to decline in the coming years due to the increasing presence. There are 22.98 per cent Hindi-speaking people, 13.53 per cent Urdu, 11.34 per cent Gujarati, 2.57 per cent Tamil, 2.57 per cent Marwadi, 1.38 per cent Konkani, and 1.31 per cent Bengali.

The BJP has also repeatedly claimed that Uddhav Thackeray does not have sympathy following the vertical split in Shiv Sena and the fall of the MVA government. It argues that this was a "media creation" as "the Modi-Raj combine has added value to the MahaYuti which enjoys not just sympathy but confidence of cross sections of the society".

It is not just the BJP that expects political gains, but Raj Thackeray, with a sole legislator and few civic body representatives, sees it as an opportunity to consolidate his party’s position not just in Mumbai but the rest of Maharashtra.


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Title: BJP sees political gains by betting big on Raj for claiming Balasaheb Thackeray's legacy

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