Rout in Maha polls: Is it end of road for Raj Thackeray-led-MNS?

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MNS chief Raj Thackeray
Raj Thackeray led-Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) which was once seen as 'massiah' of Marathi manoos and threat to the existence of Shiv Sena after Bal Thackeray's death is struggling hard to survive in the State politics.

The party which won 12 seats in the 2009 Assembly elections was contesting on 219 seats this time but managed to win only one seat. The MNS was shown the door completely in Mumbai, going from six to zero MLAs. What is even more worsening is the fact that its vote share fall to just 3 per cent from 11 per cent.

The lone pary MLA who managed to win is Sharaddada Sonavane, who is also an import from arch-rival Shiv Sena.

MNS' regressive approach failed to connect with voters

Undoubtedly, the Assembly polls have brought down the curtains on the career of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leaders as well as its aggressive chief Raj Thackeray.

Prior to the polls, Raj said that he would not contest the Lok Sabha polls and would only concentrate on State Assembly elections, but his strategy seemed not to have worked among the voters. It is significant fall for the party that banked merely on charisma of its party chief who remained busy in the politics of hatred and violence. Important to mention here the violence against Bihari youths residing in the State.

In Mumbai, where the MNS had stood as the second-largest party, it lost all its six seats. In Mahim, where party chief resides, former MLA Nitin Sardesai lost to Sena's Sada Sarvankar. Bala Nandgaonkar was defeat in Sewri, Shishir Shinde in Bhandup West, Pravin Darekar in Magathane and Mangesh Sangole in Vikhroli.

The 2009 magic didn't work this time

Raj Thackeray founded MNS in 2006 after he broke away from the Shiv Sena. The newly-floated party, at that time, did faily well in 2009 Assembly polls winning 13 seats in its maiden elections. The region behind was Raj's vitriolic campaign against migrants and about retaining jobs for Maharashtrians in the State.

Most importantly, the party acted as spoiler for the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance. The party ensured the defeat of the saffron alliance in 11 of the 36 constituencies in Mumbai and also spoiled their chances of winning in 26 of the 36 seats in the Mumbai, Thane region.

But, it seems that MNS which scored 0in the Lok Sabha polls is not finding any buyers.

'Marathi Manoos' plank did not appeal to voters

The party has become directionless and it does not have any ideology or agenda. Its lone election plank 'Marathi Manoos' does not appeal to the voters any more.

Given the fact that elections are fought on development agenda, Thackeray had very little to present to the voters of Maharashtra. Party's lack of organisational structure and credible agenda have seemingly crippled the party's prospects of retaining its previous seats.

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