Last January, Girish Dhanurkar, senior Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader, made public his plans for strengthening the party base in the city by reviving its local unit that had been disbanded ahead of the 2010 municipal corporation polls.
Now a year later, few party leaders have parted ways, alleging “extortionists” are running the Navi Mumbai unit of the party and that senior leaders have failed to take note.
MNS leaders from the city could not be reached for their comment as they had been arrested by the Vashi police for vandalising the office of an advertisement agency on Monday.
Kishor Shewale, who quit MNS to join Shiv Sena, alleged during a media briefing, “The present unit was working on an extortion model that was doing no good to party’s image in the city. Various agitations, including school bus protests, had been carried out to extort money. Unfortunately, senior leaders of the party who have been informed about the ground realities, have failed to take any disciplinary action against the present unit.”
Shewale said, “Despite the party unit being disbanded for nearly three years, we had been working tirelessly to take MNS to the grassroot level in the city. However, those working against the policies of the party were promoted.”
It was in July 2013 that a new executive committee of MNS, comprising members mainly from Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarathi Sena (MNVS) was reconstituted, much to the displeasure of other members. MNS had failed to impress Navi Mumbaikars since its inception and had little public support in the satellite city.
The party has not taken any of its agitations to a logical conclusion in the city and their protests were called off after reported “settlements”. MNS leaders from Mumbai claimed they were closely following developments in Navi Mumbai.
During the 2009 assembly polls, MNS contested from the Belapur seat, from where NCP’s Ganesh Naik and BJP’s Suresh Haware contested. According to political observers, MNS’ candidate had eaten into BJP’s vote share, giving an edge to Naik in a closely fought political battle.