MNS won’t play hardball with ED, cadres told to stay calm

Mumbai: Known for his penchant for street-smart politics, Raj Thackeray has allowed wiser sense to prevail and, for the moment, decided not to agitate against the Enforcement Directorate notice in the Kohinoor Mill case.

It was rather uncharacteristic of Raj when he announced on Tuesday that he will keep his date with the ED on August 22 and appealed to his supporters to keep calm.

Of course, in the past, too, Raj has stepped back after firing on all cylinders on the Toll Naka and other issues. But that was often because ‘shoot and scoot’ was his style of politics.

This time, he realises he is on sound footing as far as the Kohinoor Mill case is concerned – which he had the good sense to exit well in time. So, greater political benefit could accrue to MNS by lying low and going with the flow, rather than playing hardball with the ED.

Keeping the restive cadres in mind, he put out a massage that the optics are not important right now and since the party’s inception in 2006 they have been implicated in numerous cases; hence they will deal with the matter with 'grace and peace'.

“No harm should come to any public property and the common man must not face the consequences. Every time we have honoured the notices sent by investigative agencies; and this time, too, we will do the needful,” Raj was quoted as saying.

Hours after the MNS withdrew their proposed bandh call on August 22, party leader Bala Nandgaonkar informed party cadres that they were getting across the board support on the issue.

In a tactical retreat, the MNS cadres are expected to assemble peacefully outside the ED office on Thursday. “The party headquarters has decided to not adopt any aggressive posture against the directorate and co-operate in every way,” said Nandgaonkar.

“I take full guarantee, no MNS worker will create any trouble.’’ But there is a contrarian view: The symbol of MNS is the Railway Engine and a political wag was heard saying sarcastically that the engine has again taken a U-turn.

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