On Gudi Padwa, Raj Thackeray makes new beginning, declares support to Modi, 'Mahayuti'

On Gudi Padwa, Raj Thackeray makes new beginning, declares support to Modi, 'Mahayuti'

PTI | Mumbai | Updated: 09-04-2024 22:31 IST | Created: 09-04-2024 22:31 IST
On Gudi Padwa, Raj Thackeray makes new beginning, declares support to Modi, 'Mahayuti'
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Maharashtra Navnirman Sena president Raj Thackeray on Tuesday announced unconditional support to the `Mahayuti' alliance of the BJP, Shiv Sena and NCP in the state and backed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a move that is expected to bolster the ruling bloc's prospects in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Addressing his party's annual rally here on Gudi Padwa (traditional Maharashtra New Year that symbolises fresh beginnings, auspiciousness), Raj Thackeray said he expects PM Modi to focus on the concerns of the youth and maintained the state should get a larger share of central revenue keeping in mind taxes it pays.

''I don't have any expectations. When there is a need for a strong leadership in the country, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena will back the BJP, Shiv Sena, NCP unconditionally. It is only for Narendra Modi,'' Raj Thackeray asserted.

Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis immediately hailed Raj Thackeray's announcement.

The MNS leader did not elaborate whether his party, which has not fielded any candidate so far, will contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Raj Thackeray's support to Modi comes after his meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah last month. Since then there were speculations that he will join the ruling Mahayuti (grand alliance). He, however, made it clear that his party candidates, as and when they contest elections, will do so only on MNS symbol 'railway engine'.

Thackeray, who broke away from the undivided Shiv Sena and founded the MNS in 2006, asked his party workers to start preparing for the state assembly elections which are due in October this year.

For the 55-year-old firebrand leader known for his oratory skills, politics has come to a full circle. He openly backed Modi's candidature for the Prime Minister's post in 2014. He then changed tracks and went on to become his bitter critic, going to the extent of playing videos of promises made by Modi at his well-attended rallies, and pointing out how they remained unfulfilled.

However, opposing his estranged cousin Uddhav Thackeray, then head of the undivided Shiv Sena, has been the hallmark of Raj Thackeray's politics. Even when he backed the BJP in 2014, he fielded candidates against the undivided Shiv Sena.

The MNS leader, at the Gudi Padwa rally in Shivaji Park, explained why he changed his stand on Modi.

''After 2014, I felt that what I heard in the (assurances given in) speeches (by Modi) were not materialising. ''I opposed him vehemently, but whenever he did anything good, say (like nullifying the provisions of) Article 370, I was the one who welcomed it. I organised a 'morcha' (rally) in favour of the NRC (National Register of Citizens),'' Raj Thackeray said, justifying change in his stand.

The MNS leader asserted he never made personal attacks at Modi even as he took a dig at his cousin and Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut.

''I do not criticise because I was not offered the CM's post, but I did not agree with their stand. They (Uddhav and Raut) are speaking against him (Modi) now. When I was saying this (during 2019 polls), then why didn't you resign because (now) you were dislodged from power and your party was broken,'' Raj Thackeray said.

The Shiv Sena suffered a split in June 2022 when a majority of its MLAs, led by now Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, revolted against Uddhav Thackeray's leadership. Uddhav Thackeray had quit as CM following the revolt.

BJP leader Fadnavis welcomed Raj Thackeray's decision to extend unconditional support to the Mahayuti alliance.

In a post on social media platform X, he said, ''I am extremely grateful to MNS chief Raj Thackeray for extending support to the Mahayuti comprising the BJP, Shiv Sena, and NCP. I welcome the decision to trust Prime Minister Narendra Modi's masterly leadership to realise the dream of a developed country (Viksit Bharat) and for a strong foundation of the Maharashtra state.'' ''We all shall become bound to the solemn vow of fulfilling people's expectations,'' Fadnavis said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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