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Raj Thackeray-Narayan Rane meeting politically strategic move, say analysts

Raj Thackeray-Narayan Rane meeting politically strategic move, say analysts
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Mumbai: Political analysts in Maharashtra view the recent meeting between senior Congress leader Narayan Rane and MNS chief Raj Thackeray as a politically strategic move to checkmate Shiv Sena's growing influence in Konkan region of the state. Thackeray, who was recently on a tour to Konkan, called on Rane at the latter's residence in Kankavali in Sindhudurg district. Rane had suffered back to back setbacks, first his defeat in the last year's Assembly polls and then his loss in the Bandra East by-polls. Similarly, MNS was routed in the last year's Assembly polls as his party managed to win just one seat in the 288 member house. The meeting of the two leaders was significant as it sent out a message of tactical understanding between MNS and Congress in Konkan politics to checkmate the Shiv Sena, political analysts said. Former Chief Ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Ashok Chavan had adopted a policy to have a tactical understanding with Raj Thackeray to cut Shiv Sena to size and that showed in the election results as well, they opined. "Raj's meeting with a senior Congress leader and former minister could not have happened without knowledge and support of the state leadership," analysts said. An MNS leader on condition of anonymity said that the Shiv Sena's revival in Konkan in last year's Assembly polls was due to a political vacuum in the region. "No political party enjoys support for a very long period in the Konkan region. Earlier, socialists enjoyed the support, then Shiv Sena and later Congress. Now NCP is competing with Shiv Sena to increase its presence in the region," he said. The leader claimed that Prithviraj Chavan was not supportive of Raj when MNS was the first to raise the issue of paying toll. "If Prithviraj Chavan would have supported Raj, Thackeray would have become a hero for the common man who was burdened with paying toll. MNS lost badly in elections while Congress also had a a poor show," he said. Now with Ashok Chavan the state Congress chief, the party is likely to revive its understanding with MNS to cut Shiv Sena to size, the leader said. He also said that while the Shiv Sena was opposing the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant, an important issue of the region, the MNS was in favour of it. However, state BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said that the meeting between the two leaders was not politically significant. "Both Raj and Rane have been rejected by the people in the last elections and nothing has changed as yet," he said. PTI

Updated : 29 Jun 2015 7:22 AM GMT
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