Despondency has set in among the activists of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) due to lack of media coverage of the meetings of Raj Thackeray, especially in television channels. Activists are worried over the lack of media coverage and believe that it does not augur well for the party in the election time.
None of the rallies or public meetings was covered live by any of the Marathi news channels in recent days, including public meetings in Goregaon and Naigaum.
Surprisingly, till some time ago, Thackeray's public meetings were eagerly awaited and the television channels relayed it live. Most of Thackeray's public meetings were electrifying for the cadres and always generated controversy.
Party sources claimed that he has already cancelled as many as 10 public meetings across the state. Even during the last assembly elections, he had cancelled a number of public meetings. Besides, he has fielded candidates only in few constituencies, including three in Mumbai. Adding to it is the diminishing media coverage of his meetings. "We are worried over the way the coverage has diminished. We hope it picks up in the days to come," said an office-bearer.
"He himself is also partly responsible for this situation. In a recent public meeting at Panvel, he arrived late that is after 10 pm, so he could not speak disappointing people who attended the meeting," said an observer.
Activists seem to think that the lack of media coverage may also be due to lack of favour among the public for the party. Besides, party workers are disappointed over the statements of BJP president Rajnath Singh, who pointed out that the party did not want unsolicited support from the MNS. This comes when Thackeray has publicly declared that the MNS MPs who are elected will support Modi government.
"If he has supported Modi, news channels and people might wonder what new will he say? Moreover he is not saying anything new in any of his meetings. There might be vested interests in the less coverage for Thackeray, besides there is Modi hype in channels. Only if he says something against Uddhav Thackeray, then it makes news, otherwise, why will the channels cover him. Besides, the statement of Rajnath Singh has not helped him," said political analyst Surendra Jondhale.