Even before Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) can launch its new flag carrying Chhatrapati Shivaji's emblem, opposition is swiftly heading its way. The Sambhaji Brigade has launched a protest against the yet-to-be-unveiled flag. The Brigade argues that the seal was a symbol of the legendary Maratha king's rule and was embossed on the 'Raj Mudra' (state currency) and therefore, no political party can use this.
"If the MNS comes out with a saffron flag, we are totally fine with it. But should it carry the seal, we shall vehemently oppose. That's because the seal was the administrative symbol of Chhatrapati's rule and was embossed on the state currency and cannot be allowed for political purposes in present times," a Sambhaji Brigade leader said.
The new flag may be unveiled on January 23 during a planned special conclave of Raj Thackeray in Mumbai. The date coincides with the birth anniversary of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray. MNS flag presently consists of saffron, blue and green stripes and the new one is believed to be an all-saffron one with the seal of Chhatrapati Shivaji embossed in the middle.
In a big political development in Maharashtra on Tuesday, sources have told Republic TV that MNS chief Raj Thackeray met former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at an undisclosed location. As per sources, the meeting went on for at least an hour. This assumes significance in wake of reports that Raj Thackeray is expected to officially adopt Hindutva as its ideology to establish itself as a right-wing political front in Maharashtra to fill the vacuum left by Shiv Sena, which now runs a coalition government with UPA allies Congress and NCP. In the recently concluded 2019 Maharashtra assembly elections, MNS could win only one seat.
Since Uddhav Thackeray took oath as the CM of Maharashtra, the Sena is being perceived to have moved away from its Hindutva stance owing to the compulsions of its alliance with NCP and Congress. The ideological dilemma for the Sena has come to the fore on issues such as the Citizenship Amendment Act and Veer Savarkar. In the case of the former, the Sena MPs adopted a different position in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. On the other hand, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut defended Savarkar both on Twitter as well as in the Saamana newspaper. However, party supremo Uddhav Thackeray refused to comment on Rahul Gandhi’s remark that had sparked off the controversy in the first place.