Raj Thackeray led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has launched a grand campaign demanding the ouster of illegal immigrants even as thousands of party workers took part in the ‘mahamorcha’ from Hindu Gymkhana along Marine Drive to the Azad Maidan in the Maharashtra Capital yesterday.
The march organised by the MNS witnessed some spectacular scenes, which would only make Raj Thackeray more confident about the Hindutva Nationalist makeover that he has given to his party.
Mumbai Turned Saffron to support #CAA_NRC_NPR in a rally by Raj Thackeray.
— Dharmendra Chhonkar (@yoursdharm) February 9, 2020
Extending his unambiguous support to the CAA and NRC, the MNS chief said, “I never understood all those morchas taken out especially by the Muslims, be it regarding the CAA or NRC. The law doesn’t drive out anyone residing out here since birth. So what was the objective of showing strength?”
Strongly supporting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Raj Thackeray added, “Hindus are a minority in Pakistan. If they feel threatened, what’s wrong in giving them citizenship here?” On the issue of NRC, he made it clear that India is not a dharamshala.
In fact, the MNS chief said, “Is my country a dharmshala for anyone to come and stay?? We have not taken responsibility for humanity… Every country takes strict steps for its citizens. It’s happening in the US, Australia and other countries…. They deport them or send them to jail. Only we talk about humanity.”
With this, Raj Thackeray seems to have announced his arrival as an emerging Hindutva icon in the state of Maharashtra.
Even as the Shiv Sena led by his cousin brother, Uddhav Thackeray has deserted the Hindutva ideology and icons by joining an alliance with the Congress and the NCP, the MNS has come to occupy the void created by Shiv Sena’s abandonment of Hindutva.
In fact, the Raj Thackeray led party recently rebranded itself from its previously Maratha-centric outlook to now a perceivably Hindutva oriented outfit.
On January 23, the party even changed its flag colour, which is now completely saffron as opposed to the mix of saffron, blue, white and green colours. In the January 23 meeting, the party also inducted the photo of Veer Savarkar, showing how the party has given by on its identity of core Marathi sub-nationalism and anti-immigration, in favour of a more explicit Hindutva image.
At a time when the MNS wants to occupy the void created by Shiv Sena’s abandonment of Hindutva ideals and Balasaheb Thackeray’s legacy, it finds a prolific opportunity in the ongoing CAA-NRC debate in the country.
This is where Raj Thackeray has stepped in. The MNS recently put up posters in Panvel area of Raigad district, reading, ‘Bangladeshis leave the country lest you will be driven out in MNS style’, the posters bore pictures of MNS chief Raj Thackeray and his son Amit, who recently made his debut in politics. The posters had a saffron backdrop to them as well.
Raj Thackeray is a legitimate inheritor of Bal Thackeray’s Hindutva legacy in terms of personality, political oratory, and almost every other political trait.
Now, with the ‘mahamorcha‘ demanding the ouster of illegal immigrants, he has shown that he truly represents Balasaheb Thackeray’s Hindutva ideology. With Uddhav Thackeray having deserted Shiv Sena’s core ideology, Raj Thackeray seems all set to fill the massive void in Maharashtra as far as occupying the Hindutva space is concerned.