The wind it should have been riding seems to have gone out of its sail. Following its good performance in the Lok Sabha elections, it was expected that Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) would go all out to consolidate its position in the next month’s state assembly polls. But instead of firing on all cylinders, the party seems to be fighting a losing battle. A series of defections at the top level, and charges of rape and extortion against some of its workers, have severely dented the MNS morale. Not even the most optimistic of its supporters is expecting an encore. The MNS fielded 11 candidates in April-May’s Lok Sabha polls. Each of them bagged over 1 lakh votes. A breakup of the assembly segments showed the MNS candidates topping in nine and finishing second in 13. Those defected from the MNS have said that the MNS is controlled by a handful of officials close to Raj Thackeray who do not have any connect with the party cadre. However, MNS party leaders do not think so and say that the party is firmly on track.
September 14, 2010
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