By Nakul Arora:
MNS chief Raj Thackeray again made headlines for his ethnic comments against the people of Bihar. Mr. Thackeray, who is known for his tirade against the migrant workers of UP and Bihar, has found yet another way of making news by openly challenging Bihar’s Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar. The issue at hand is the celebration of Bihar Diwas to mark 100 years of Bihar in Mumbai. Bihar’s Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is scheduled to be a part of it. This gave the MNS chief a new reason to speak against the community and he ended up challenging Mr. Kumar to attend the function, saying that he will do all in his power to make sure it’d be disrupted. However, this time around the campaign against the Diwas is expected to do him more harm than good.
The junior Thackeray, who is the nephew of the Shiv Sena supreme Bal Thackeray, is actually trying his best to follow the footsteps of his Uncle. Bal Thackeray had made the issue of Marathi manoos his single-point agenda and had targeted the South Indian migrants in his early years of politics. His campaign had been centred around the claim that the South Indians enter Mumbai and eat away on the jobs available for locals. His campaign back then had found huge support and in later years, he drew a lot of support from similar campaigns against the Muslims. Campaigining on ethnic grounds and against the minority’s sort of runs through the blood of the Thackerays for even the father of Mr. Bal Thackeray was known to have campaigned against the people of Gujarat in the post-independence days. Thus, what Mr. Raj Thackeray is trying to do is nothing new, he is just trying to carve out a separate political space for himself by hitting out on the migrant workers from Bihar and UP.
However, Mr. Thackeray fails to realise that the world is a different place now and also that, the Bihar worker, whom he considers a menace, is quite in demand in other parts of the country. People today know the importance of the presence of a variety of talents and skills for development of an area and realize that this is only possible when people from different areas,with their different skill-sets, gather together. People also realize that Mumbai today would not have been the same had the amazing pool of talent not moved and settled there from across the country. Any area which is open to migration, is known to benefit from it, for migration brings along with it cheap labour, varied skill sets and talents. Dubai is a perfect example of one such area. Thus, it’s high time for the MNS chief to realize that his desperate attempts at re-igniting a dead issue only show him to be out of ideas. Also, if the three lakh strong population of Bihar migrant force putting up in Maharashtra, which is expected to attend the function, were to turn against MNS, it would cause a lot of problems for the newly founded party, which is just setting up its feet in the vibrant Maharashtrian politics scenario.
Bihar chief Nitish Kumar, on his part, offered an olive leaf to Mr. Thackeray by ensuring him that the event was only cultural and no political speeches would be made. This hopefully would allay his fears of the Minister’s political interest of inciting the people against his anti-Bihar speeches. The state government on their part, have given full assurance to the community and Mr. Kumar on there been proper security to ensure the safe and peaceful passage of the event. They further went on to state that if the need arises, preventive arrests would also be made. Hopefully, this response would start the end of anti-sub regional politics of the small, newly formed parties who play the minority card to garner cheap publicity and small support of the few like-minded people.