Maharashtra Navnirman Sena is a Maharashtra based regional party. The motto of the party’s “sons of the soil”. The party was founded in the year 2006 by Raj Thackeray ,who is also the current president of the party. The ideology of the party’s Hindutva like its opponent Shiv Sena although not the hardcore type practiced by the latter. The party has maintained from the day of its inception that its core agenda is the development of Maharashtra and its inhabitants especially Marathis. The actions of the party, such as hooliganism and xenophobia have made it infamous in the state and the country. Raj Thackeray has emerged as one of the most feared leaders in the state.
Let’s have a look at the ten interesting facts about MNS.
1. Breakaway group from Shiv Sena
Raj Thackeray is the nephew of Bal Thackeray, the founder of Shiv Sena. Raj Thackeray resigned from the Shiv Sena in the year 2006 to float his new party. He declared that the party was being “run by petty clerks” and had “fallen from its former glory” and it was his intention to bring the development issues of the state to the centrestage. However, it is said that the differences with his cousin Uddhav led him to quit the party.
2. The flag of the party
The saffron color in the middle of the party’s flag has been derived from the saffron flag of Shiv Sena. The dark blue color at the upper edge represents the Dalits and is also the color of Mayawati’s Dalit based party BSP. The green color at the bottom edge is considered to be representing the Muslims. Thus, it has been inferred from the color of the flag that MNS want to attract both Muslims and Dalits into its fold.
3. Parochial politics
MNS workers attacked shopkeepers from North India in various parts of Maharashtra on February 2008. This was in response to a report that stated that Raj Thackeray was about be arrested for the disparaging remarks he made about a Bihari festival called Chhath Puja. MNS workers assaulted some North Indian candidates who were in Mumbai to appear for the Railway Recruitment exams for the western region on October 2016. Raj Thackeray also created tension by speaking out against people from other states migrating into Maharashtra.
4. Generating Fear
The hooliganism of the MNS cadres against the North Indian construction workers in Pune led to delays in construction work for the Infosys Technologies. This forced the company to shift 3000 employee positions out of Pune.
5. Fight against Jet Airways
The MNS took up the cause of about 1000 probationary employees who had been removed by the Jet Airways due to cost cutting as a result of economic slowdown. Raj Thackeray took the fight to the company by threatening to shut down their operations in Maharashtra if they did not reinstall the employees. The party’s stand prompted both the national parties, Congress and BJP, to come out in support of the employees.
6. Controversy concerning Abu Azmi
Abu Azmi is a leader of the Samajwadi Party in Maharashtra. On November 2009, four MLAs of the MNS assaulted Abu Azmi in order to prevent him from taking his oath in Hindi instead of Marathi which is the state’s official language. As a punishment, the MLAs were suspended for four years and were also barred from entering Mumbai and Nagpur during the assembly sessions. Earlier in February 2008, MNS workers had clashed with Samajwadi Party workers who had come to hear a speech of Abu Azmi at Shivaji Park in Mumbai.
7. Enmity with Shiv Sena
MNS cadres were involved in some violent clashes with the Shiv Sena workers on October 2006. The cause of the clashes was attributed to the rumosr that the MNS workers had torn down the posters bearing Bal Thackeray’s photos. It was also alleged that the Sena workers had retaliated by bringing down the hoardings bearing the photographs of Raj Thackeray. Both sides indulged in the stone pelting following which the police fired tear gas shells to dispel the mob.
8. Electoral performance
MNS registered victories in 13 assembly constituencies in the 2009 Maharashtra assembly elections. The party became the fourth largest in the assembly after the Congress-NCP alliance, BJP-Shiv Sena alliance and the Third front. In the 2014 assembly elections, however, the party’s fortunes took a turn for the worse when it managed to win just a single seat in the state and lost all the remaining seats it had won earlier. The party’s candidates lost their deposits in 203 constituencies, a staggeringly high number. MNS is currently facing an existential crisis after being routed at the polls.
9. Student Wing
The student wing of the MNS is called the Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sena. The student wing has been created to attract young college going students into the party. The student wing has a separate cell for girls and a cultural and sports cell. The wing is currently led by Aditya Shirodkar.
10. Associated Organisations
MNS runs an organization called Navnirman Academy of Retail Industries where workshops are organized for training the young people to work in retail industries. Some other organizations of MNS include MN Rail Sena, MN Mahila Sena, MN Navik Sena, MN Rojgar Swayamrojgar Sena, etc. These organizations have been formed to extend the outreach of the party to every section of the society.