Raj Thackeray gives MNS makeover on uncle Balasaheb's B'Day

Raj Thackeray gives MNS makeover on uncle Balasaheb's B'Day

A change of flag and the public display of a Hindutva icon's image at a Thursday party meeting indicate a likely ideological shift for Raj Thackeray's 14-year-old Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

The image makeover has been timed to coincide with the birth anniversary of Bal Keshav Thackeray, founder of the Shiv Sena and Raj's uncle.

The Shiv Sena's Hindutva ideology is seen to be at odds with its decision to govern Maharashtra in coalition with the Congress and the NCP.

The new MNS flag is saffron and emblazoned with a seal dating back to the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji.

The old had had blue, green and saffron bands and the image of a train engine.

A bust of Shivaji was displayed at an MNS state executive meeting held Thursday in suburban Mumbai, and one of the images displayed next to it was of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.

Raj Thackeray's son Amit was inducted into the MNS at the meeting.

Formed in 2006 after Raj Thackeray left the Shiv Sena, the MNS currently has a single representative in the 289-strong Maharashtra state assembly, all but one of whose members are elected.