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AFTER CITIES, RAJ AND UDDHAV TO BATTLE IN RURAL MAHARASHTRA

The assembly poll results showed the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena fast closing in on the Shiv Sena in major urban centres in Maharashtra. Post-elections, indications are that the battle between the cousins extends to the semi-urban and rural parts as well. For the Sena, which has established itself fairly well in almost all parts of the state, revisiting the rural parts is essential not only in the wake of its worst performance in polls since 1995, but also because it wants to consolidate in regions the MNS has not reached yet. The MNS is looking at the rural constituency to become a state-wide player and undercut the Sena. Sena leader Subhash Desai has reportedly stated that Uddhav Thackeray would soon tour the state for a first-hand analysis of the results. He denied Uddhav Thackeray’s renewed insistence on the rural reconnect has anything to do with Raj Thackeray’s proposed rural foray. Senior MNS leader and legislator Shishir Shinde said that since the demarcation between the rural and urban Maharashtra is getting blurred, it was essential for the MNS to make a pan-Maharashtra appeal. But political observers are skeptical of the MNS’ rural focus. They feel that the Raj Thackeray-led party is unlikely to strike a chord in rural Maharashtra on the issue of Marathi identity. Bureau report NMTV News.

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