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Mumbai, Jun 14: These celebrations could give J Jayalalithaa fans an inferiority complex. Raj Thackarey’s acolytes across Mumbai are going all out to celebrate his 39th birthday in a style reminiscent of celebrations down south for Amma.

A film will be launched, 50-foot hoardings will be resurrected on city streets, and Raj will be everywhere.

Sanad Mane (38), who has been with Raj since 1988, will announce a feature film based on the life of a girl who suffered an acid attack.

The movie carries a message, Mane says, and adds that Raj is sure to like the concept.

Bala Nandgaonkar, another close aide, will adopt 54 poor students in Mazgaon today. He will sponsor their uniforms, books and fees. He will also announce the launch of a band of 50 young volunteers who will help in disaster management.

These youth, all unemployed, will be given special uniforms and will report to their headquarters in Mazgaon. Each of them will be given a bike, which may turn out to be useless in a flooded Mumbai.

Mane and Nandgaonkar have tough competition from within the party in grabbing Raj’s attention.  Fifty-foot hoardings are Vinod Pawar’s way of wishing his boss a happy birthday.

“We wanted to do something different, so we thought of this idea. We have put up 35 hoardings in Kandivli,” said Pawar. So what if Thackarey does not take that route and will never see those hoardings?

Not to be left behind is Manoj Chavan from Kurla. Chavan will visit houses and distribute tulsi plants. “We want to take care of the environment, and what better day than to start on our leader’s birthday,” said Chavan.

Raj supporters will also give away chlorine tablets to the starving poor at Bhandup. But where’s the water to put them in?

In Dahisar, firecrackers worth Rs 22,000 will go up in smoke, while a three-kg cake will be cut at Malad at midnight.

Amma, are you jealous yet? 


Some birthday offerings for Jayalalithaa:

- Martial arts teacher paints her portrait using his blood
- Fan travels to Tirupati and cuts off his tongue
- Another chops off his finger
- A tear-off calendar lists her birthday among religious festivals
- US admirers get a Chicago street named J Jayalalithaa Way
- Fans pledge eyes, donate blood
- Men take no-dowry oaths
- Posters show her sitting on a lotus, like a goddess
- Politician publishes posters depicting her as the Virgin Mary

Dissent Hits Raj Thackeray's Party


Mumbai: Nearly 300 student activists and a close aide of Shiv Sena rebel Raj Thackeray quit the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and re-joined the Sena, a day before Raj's 38th birthday.

The youth leaders say they're disgruntled with Raj’s style of working. However, the question that arises is that are these signs of growing dissent in the new party.

At every Shiva Sena event, former Bhartiya Vidyarthi Sena working president, Raja Chaughule, was by Raj’s side.

Chaughule also followed Raj to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena but just four months since the formation of the new party, Chaughule has already made his way out along with other youth members

Chaughule blames a coterie of individuals around Raj for isolating party workers like him. Ironically, this is the same reason that prompted Raj to split the Sena.

“A few incidents made me realise their system wasn’t for me, it was like an insult,” Chaugule said.

For the Maharashtra political scene, it's like a see-saw where party workers could swing to any side that offers a better deal. But, for a floundering Shiv Sena, this comes as a morale boost just days before its foundation day on June 19.

“Those who had left, due to misunderstandings have returned. We are glad,” President, Shiv Sena, Uddhav Thackeray said.

This wave of dissent comes when Raj is slated to announce his formal party structure on June 15 and although senior office bearers are dismissive of Chaugule's exit, what's hard to miss is a sense of underlying insecurity and uncertainty among the party workers about their political future.

It could well be testing times for the Maha Navnirman Sena and the exit of its youth party workers is being seen as a trigger for a larger exodus from this newly-formed party.


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