In yet another setback, former Shiv Sena MLA Harshwardhan Jadhav and late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan's brother Prakash Mahajan on Saturday formally returned to the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). Jadhav and Mahajan joined the MNS at Raj Thackeray's residence in Dadar. Shiv Sena's Aurangabad leader Suhas Dashrathe also joined the party.
Jadhav, who became a legislator for the first time from Kannad assembly constituency in Aurangabad on the MNS's ticket in 2009, said he was happy to be back at the party. He also said that the cause of Hindutva taken up by Raj Thackeray appealed to him. "I will definitely work to expand the party's base (in Aurangabad). We will definitely win the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation," Jadhav said. He also took potshots at former Shiv Sena MP from Aurangabad Chandrakant Khaire, saying that the latter will never be able to win the Lok Sabha seat in future.
Jadhav had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha poll from the Aurangabad seat as an independent. He had secured around three lakh votes, which were considered to have led to the defeat of four-time MP Khaire, who lost to AIMIM's Imtiaz Jaleel by a slender margin of 4,492 votes.
Mahajan said Raj Thackeray is the only leader who will ably take up the cause of Hindutva after late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray. "Raj Thackeray will emerge as the iconic leader of Hindutva in the time to come and Hindutva needs him," Mahajan said, adding that his return to the MNS was just a "formality".
Raj Thackeray made his party's tilt towards Hindutva official at the MNS convention on January 23, the birth anniversary of Balasaheb Thackeray. He commenced his speech by saying- “My Hindu brothers and sisters”. Raj Thackeray also explained that the newly adopted saffron flag was his original choice at the time of forming the MNS.
Taking the fight right to the Maharashtra CM's doorstep on Friday, MNS put up posters right outside his Matoshree residence. They challenged him to fulfill his commitment that he made in a recent interview. The posters contain the following message- ‘Honourable Chief Minister, if your stance is that Pakistani and Bangladeshi infiltrators must be thrown out of the country, then first clear the neighbourhoods in your Bandra backyard that are brimming with infiltrators’.