After the severe Lok Sabha electoral drubbing, the Raj Thackeray-led MNS is trying to boost the morale of its cadre saying the poll results were a mandate for prime minister-elect Narendra Modi, and that the voting pattern would have no reflection in the assembly polls.
MNS has hinted at projecting Raj as its chief ministerial candidate, and is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that his public meeting on May 31 at Somaiya grounds in Sion is a success.
All 10 MNS candidates, including three in Mumbai, forfeited their security deposits. Adding insult to injury, Sena led by Raj's estranged cousin, Uddhav Thackeray, won 18 of the 20 seats it contested.
This drubbing is a far cry from the 2009 elections where MNS contested 12 seats and engineered the defeat of the Sena and BJP in nine constituencies (5 in Mumbai).
The MNS held a closed door conclave of office-bearers on Thursday where incidentally, Raj was absent. "The Sena-BJP's success can only be attributed to the Modi wave. Such ups and downs occur in lives of political parties. Moreover, the voting trends in Lok Sabha elections do not repeat in assembly polls. For example, while BJP's Sanjay Dhotre won from Akola, the by-poll to the Risod assembly segment in the constituency held simultaneously saw Amit Zanak of Congress win," he pointed out.
The MNS leader added that MLAs Praveen Darekar, Shishir Shinde and party leader Manoj Chavan, who addressed the meeting, had called on the cadre to work hard for success in the assembly polls.
"It was only because of Modi," said Darekar, who spoke to dna about the 5-party Mahayuti's sweeping success, adding that Modi had been projected as a strong alternative to the Congress, which was reeling under a negative wave. "The equations for the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha are different," he said.
Darekar said they would be happy if like Modi, the people of the state decide to stand by Raj as the chief ministerial candidate. He, however, added that the issue of formally projecting Raj as the CM candidate had not been discussed or any decision taken in regard at the meeting.
"There was a tsunami in favour of Modi," said Shinde, adding: "There is no doubt party workers want to project Raj as the chief ministerial candidate."
The party has also sought details from office-bearers on booth-wise polling in various constituencies. Raj may also meet shakha-level office-bearers soon to review the party's preparations for the assembly elections.