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Raj Thackeray launches Navnirman Sena
Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai | March 09, 2006 12:44 IST
Last Updated: March 09, 2006 13:37 IST
Raj Thackeray, estranged nephew of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, on Thursday morning launched his long-awaited political party, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena.
The new party was launched at a well-attended function at the Y B Chavan auditorium in Mumbai.
The new outfit's flag colours are dark blue, saffron and dark green. Asked about the choice of colours, Thackeray said he would clarify this and other issues on March 19.
While Raj Thackeray is the president of the outfit, there was no word on other office-bearers or the party manifesto. These, again, would be clarified on March 19, he told a press conference shortly after announcing the formation of the new party.
Some 2000 supporters attended the function, most of them youths. Asked if there will be an age cut-off to join his party, Thackeray said it would be open to all age-groups. Prominent faces who were seen at today's event were Shishir Shinde and Bal Nandgaonkar.
About the Kohinoor Mills property jointly purchased by him along with Shiv Sena strongman Manohar Joshi's son Unmesh, Thackeray said preference in employment would be given to the esrtwhile mill employees and their kin in all commercial establishments barring shops coming up on the plot. "Let me correct the perception that I am involved in the sale of mill land in Mumbai. The decision is taken by the National Textiles Corporation and the Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh," he said.
Asked what took him so long to launch the party, Thackeray said he wanted to first travel across Maharashtra and see the people's problems first-hand and also gauge the response to him.
About his closeness to Congress strongman and former Shiv Sena leader Narayan Rane, Thackeray said all that was a "thing of the past".
Asked if there is space for yet another political party in Maharashtra, Thackeray said he will create the space for himself.
The dais had images of Prabhodankar Thackeray, the Shiv Sena founder's father, and Chhatrapati Shivaji. About the absence of his uncle's photographs, Raj said he will not be using them since that was his uncle's wish. When quizzed repeatedly about breaking away from his uncle, Raj Thackeray turned emotional and said, "Only those who have left their homes will understand what I went through."
Before coming to the venue of the press conference, Raj Thackeray performed a puja at home and offered prayers at the Siddhivinayak temple in Prabhadevi.