In the backdrop of MNS's Lok Sabha debacle, which indicated that the party was losing support of its core – youth – and first-time voters, party chief Raj Thackeray on Friday asked his student and youth cadre to change with the times, and grasp the pulse of today's voter.
Raj, who had supported BJP's Narendra Modi before the general elections, referred to how the prime minister, who was earlier a favorite on social media, was facing criticism and being held to ridicule on the same platform. Speaking at a meeting of Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sena (MNVS), Raj also asked his cadre to not be swayed too much by social media and warned that the outpouring of public support for Modi on this medium was a one-off situation "which was unlikely to happen again."
He hinted that the MNVS may undergo a shake-up with old-timers being replaced with younger blood and warned workers of misuisng party posts. "You all must understand... why you are in politics," said Raj. "(Think about) what is the purpose of the position given to you. If this designation means only threatening others and filling coffers like others, then I feel the next generation will never forgive you," he warned. Raj pointed out that politics was perhaps the toughest of things to do as it involved a play on human psychology.
He said social changes found a reflection in art, philosophy, politics and movies and noted how the younger generation was individualistic, irreverent and cared only for results. Raj told his cadre that they had to chalk out their political journey with a focus on this generation and the coming ones, which had made a break with previous political conventions.
"If you feel that getting a designation makes you big, you are wrong. Your value is zero without a connect and contacts," noted Raj. "Politics is concerned with public sentiment. Designations are not meant only for printing visiting cards," he said, adding that his cadre needed to be abreast with what was global happenings.
"In the last 20 to 25 years the world has moved from being local to being global. (You can) sit here and know what is happening in the world," said Raj, adding that the middle and upper-middle class, which had taken to visiting foreign countries in a big way, could sense the lack of infrastructure and facilities in India.
"If you have no social responsibility (like people in the United States and Europe), your coming into politics is useless... If you do not behave like this, the coming generation will not tolerate you," he warned, adding that these youngsters were ahead of their times due to the exposure received. Raj rued that the MNS cadre did not know how to handle these youngsters. He called on them to execute projects like rain water harvesting in their area. "If you set a precedent, the coming generations will trust you... keep abreast of the changing times and work in politics," urged Raj.
"It (social media) is a good medium but dont be addicted to it... think how you use the medium,"he said.
On son's political launch
Raj denied rumours of son Amit's political launch. "Is it a rocket to be launched?"said Raj, adding that he may chose to pitch Amit when he wanted. MNVS president Aditya Shirodkar felicitated Amit, who was sitting in the front row in the audience, with a bouquet.