Raj Thackeray asks party members not to address him Hindu Hriday Samrat

Mumbai: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray warned the party members not to call him Hindu Hriday Samrat, a title used only for Shiv Sena founder late Bal Thackeray. The trigger was a poster put up by MNS workers in Thane on Sunday giving Thackeray the status of ‘Hindu Hriday Samrat.' The poster also mentioned that Thackeray is the real inheritor of his uncle's legacy.

Local Shiv Sena activists took strong objection against Thackeray's portrayal as Hindu Hriday Samrat. A day later, MNS chief disapproved party workers' move asking them not to address him Hindu Hriday Samrat. Thackeray was speaking here at the meeting with his party functionaries ahead of the February 9 rally at Azad Maidan in support of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Thackeray's diktat comes four days after MNS, at its maiden state-wide conference, changed the party's flag with an all-saffron look, having the legendary Rajmudra or the official state seal of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj era as its insignia. A change in the flag indicated a likely ideological shift for Thackeray's 14-year-old MNS.

Observers said the removal of blue and green from the flag and the domination of saffron in the new flag is an indication that MNS may adopt a more aggressive Hindutva stand and form an alliance with BJP in Maharashtra. Thackeray's timing to go saffron comes when Shiv Sena, which joined hands with NCP and Congress to form the government in the state, is no longer an ardent advocate of Hindutva. Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi in the common minimum programme has clearly said that it is committed to uphold the secular values enshrined in the Constitution of India.

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