MNS leaders say that originally, it was Maharashtra English Teachers Association’s event, where Thackeray was supposed to go for just a 'courtesy call'. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray was left red-faced after an extremely poor turnout at his Aurangabad mega rally on Saturday. A latest media report said that Thackeray was forced to cut short his speech. After 1.5 minute ‘long’ address, Thackeray left the ground and flew back to Mumbai on same day. The faux paus has sparked speculations that Thackeray may sack some party functionaries for the embarrassing situation. The Aurangabad incident was reported by The Hindustan Times on Monday. The report said that around 10,000 people were expected ta the Aurangabad rally. But when Thackeray arrived at the spot, he was stunned to see just ‘empty chairs’, the HT report said.
The report also added that some Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leaders have claimed that the Aurangabad rally was not part of the original programme. It was originally Maharashtra English Teachers Association’s event, where Thackeray was supposed to go for just a 'courtesy call' and no speech was part of the programme.
On political front, Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has been in talks with the BJP over a possible alliance, however, nothing has been officially announced in this regard. The BJP, on its part, has been indirectly backing the MNS. Thackeray has been exhorting ‘Hindutva’ ideology, which is a shift from his regional politics. The MNS, in January this year, unveiled its new flag which featured Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's royal seal, also called 'raj mudra', and his speech at the workers convention at the time indicated a turn towards hardline Hindutva politics.
Meanwhile, Thackery on Sunday said that he will give a befitting reply to anti-CAA protesters saying India needs to adopt a tough stand. Thackeray also said that he doesn’t understand why Muslims were protesting against the amended Citizenship Act. “I don't understand why the Muslims who were protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act, were doing so. CAA is not for the Muslims who were born here. To whom are you showing your strength?” Thackeray said while addressing a huge gathering at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai. Earlier, Thackeray led a march demanding eviction of illegal immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh staying in India. Over 1 lakh activists marched in a mega-procession.
According to political observers, the MNS, which was relegated to the margins in Maharashtra politics after successive electoral drubbings in the last ten years, is trying to fill the Hindutva vacuum believed to have been created after the Shiv Sena joined hands with the NCP and Congress to form a government in November last year.