This isn't the first time there have been whispers about the NCP wooing MNS. Word has it that though NCP's existing ally, Congress, was worried about the backlash from Hindi-speaking states due to MNS chief Raj Thackeray's past remarks against North Indian migrants. Perhaps that's why the Sharad Pawar party organised an event for North Indians in Kandivli on Sunday, to help Thackeray extend an olive branch to the community.
The event, held at Bhura Bhai hall in Kandivli, marked a rare instance where Raj Thackeray spoke in Hindi. Speaking to North Indians invited there by the NGO, Uttar Bhartiya Maha Panchayat, Thackeray clarified that he had no hate for North Indians and merely wanted priority for Maharashtrians in job opportunities. In the past, Thackeray and his party, the MNS, were notorious for their hostility towards North Indians migrants in Mumbai, causing many to flee the city after violent attacks on them in 2008.
Interestingly, one of the key organisers of the event was Arun Mishra, district president of the NCP's North Mumbai youth wing. His father Shreekant Mishra, vice-president of NCP Mumbai, also attended the event, and the father-son duo were seen sharing the stage with Thackeray.