thakrey-1The outcome of the Maharashtra assembly election, 2009 can be summed up quite simply as: The seasoned Thackerays caught and bowled by Thackeray Junior. A family feud that has dominated the state’s political space for the past three years finally ended in bleeding the Sena yet again. The Shiv Sena lost all its Lok Sabha seats in the Mumbai-Thane belt, thanks to the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. Its second successive rout in four months will project Raj Thackeray as more of a natural successor to his once charismatic uncle Bal Thackeray. The three-year old Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), led by Raj Thackeray, may have managed to win 13 seats in its maiden assembly election. But it spoilt the Shiv Sena-BJP’s chances in well over 33 seats. It means in all, the saffron siblings lost some 50 seats because of the MNS. The fact that the Sena has been pushed down to the fourth position in its home turf Mumbai explains the gravity of the damage Raj Thackeray’s MNS has done to the party founded by his uncle Bal Thackeray. BJP leader Gopinath Munde has gone on record to admit that if there is any single factor responsible for their defeat, then it’s the MNS. Political observers feel the MNS’s spectacular performance and Raj Thackeray’s stunning debut in the election will put a question mark over Uddhav Thackeray’s leadership and Shiv Sena’s future. It’s Raj, and not Uddhav, who would be seen as filling the void left open by the ailing Bal Thackeray. The Sena’s gamble to project the assembly election as a battle between


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