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Raj Thackeray's MNS unveils new saffron flag, fuels speculation on ideology

Thackeray unveiled the new flag, which in the centre bears a 'rajmudra' (royal seal used during the times of warrior King Shivaji), at the party's plenary meeting in suburban Goregaon.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 23, 2020, 06.52 PM IST
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Watch: Raj Thackeray's son Amit Thackeray inducted into MNS
Watch: Raj Thackeray's son Amit Thackeray inducted into MNS
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MUMBAI: A spate of poll reversals and the Shiv Sena forming a government with the Congress and NCP has now led to the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena not just going in for a change of colour of its flag but also its ideology.

MNS Chief Raj Thackeray on Thursday unveiled his new party flag which has now foregone its earlier Blue, white, orange and green from its flag to all round saffron with an administrative seal on it that was used by Legendary warrior King Shivaji. When the MNS was first formed, Raj Thackeray had claimed that the MNS flag colours stand for the dalit community, orange for Hindutva and the green for the Muslim community. However faced with diminishing returns and the Shiv Sena splitting from the BJP to form a government has led to a rethink among the highest echelons of the MNS leadership on the need to adopt the aggressive Hindutva that it believes the Sena has ‘discarded’. That the target was to appropriate the Hindutva votes and also simultaneously look for an alliance with the BJP was amply clear during the MNS state Executive meet on Thursday.

On Thursday morning Raj garlanded a statue of Veer Savarkar while unveiling the statue of Savarkar, the first time that Savarkar has found space on the MNS stage. The garlanding of the Savarkar statue is significant as the BJP has been claiming that the Shiv Sena after forming the government with the help of the Congress and NCP has gone soft on Hindutva and the issue of ‘Savarkar’. To make it more clear that the MNS was looking to occupy the space left vacant by the Sena and have a tie up with the BJP, the party executive meet also on Thursday passed a resolution in support of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The development comes after BJP leaders like Devendra Fadnavis and Raj Thackeray have held meetings, while the BJP has officially claimed that the MNS and it cannot enter in to a alliance as they are not aligned ideologically. The BJP has an issue with the MNS stand on targeting migrants from north india who have come for jobs in the state. The MNS will be hoping that the party’s ‘inclusive Hindutva’ will however paper things up and bring the BJP on board.

In between these resolutions the party has also decided to ‘officially’ Amit Thackeray elected as a party leader. Amit’s who has already been participating in the party activities is meant to serve as a counter to Aaditya Thackeray of the Sena.

The MNS which in his hey days in 2009 won 13 assembly seats but it has seen dwindling returns ever since. In the 2019 Maharashtra assembly poll it won just 1 seat in the 2019 Maharashtra assembly polls. Raj joining the BJP after just a few months of constant targeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah would not be a shock for Maharashtra.

The MNS leadership is known for its muddled thinking, Raj who fancies himself as a rationalist had changed the direction of the party symbol the railway engine which was running from right to the left after a spate of poll reversals, the party decided to change the direction of the engine running from left to the right in 2012. Four years later it decided to change the direction of its engine again running from back from right going to the left.

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