Raj Thackeray is the popular Indian politician of Maharashtra. He is the founder and the president of the political party ‘Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’ aka MNS. He is the nephew of Bala Saheb Thackeray and a cousin of Uddhav Thackeray.
Early Life & Background
Raj was born on 14th June 1968 in Mumbai to Shirkant Thackeray and Kunda Thackeray. Her father Shrikant Thackeray was a musician and cartoonist. He lived in a joint family along with his uncle the founder and the former leader of Shiv Sena, Bala Saheb Thackeray. He is a cousin of current Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray. He is the brother-in-law of Bollywood producer Smita Thackeray.
Raj completed his studies from Balmohan Vidyamandir, Mumbai and later got graduated from Sir Jamsetjee Jeejebhoy School of Art, Mumbai. Like his father, Raj was also involved in music and drawing. During his school days, he use to draw for weekly magazine ‘Marmik’.
Journey in Political
In a young age, Raj joined Shiv Sena and started his political career with his uncle Bala Saheb Thackeray. In 1997, he started the youth section named Shiv Udyog Sena, due to which he became youth leader of the party. Under SUS, he raised the funds for the employment agency by arranging the concerts of Lata Mangeshkar and other singers. He even organized the only performance of Michael Jackson’s in India for his Indian fans. Raj has admired and idolized his uncle Bala Saheb. It is said that Bala Saheb has been a huge influence on Raj’s life.
In 2006, Raj Thackeray resigned from Shiv Sena saying that it has fallen from its former glory, which shocked members of the party. In the same year, he declared that soon he will form his own political party.
On 9th March 2007, he founded his party named ‘Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’ aka MNS. Even after forming his own party, Raj followed his uncle’s foot step and had the fight on the issues of Marathi Manoos. He stated that Marathi people should get right in Maharashtra and Marathi culture should be respected by everyone living in Maharashtra.
Raj Thackeray also opposed the immigration of North Indians those from Uttar Pradesh and Bihir into Maharashtra. As he thinks that due to these people crime rates and unemployment had grown in the state. In a rally of Shivaji Park, Raj warned that if the dominance of UP people didn’t stopped then he would compel to make them leave the metropolis. MNS even attacked on the members of UP based political party, Samajwadi Party in Dadar. Due to which Raj was arrested by Mumbai police, but later got bailed on paying a penalty of Rs.15,000.
Later in July 2008, Raj Thackeray picked out the topic of making Marathi signboards compulsory. Earlier, a law was passed Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation of having Marathi signboards but none of shopkeeper made an effort. Thus, Raj issued a public warning to shopkeepers to have Marathi signboards compulsory in Mumbai, otherwise MNS workers would start blackening non-Marathi signboards.
Raj even helped the employees of Jet Airways when the company announced layoffs of around 2000 workers. All these workers, Marathi & North-Indians, met Raj and asked helped from his party. Raj then declared that unless Jet cancelled the layoffs, his party would not allow any Jet Airways plane to take off from any airport in Maharashtra. Within 12 hours of Raj Thackeray’s declaration, Jet chairman Naresh Goyal reversed the layoffs and reinstated the sacked employees.
Raj Thackeray also made it compulsory to say Mumbai instead of Bombay. He also asked legislators of Maharashtra State Assembly to take their oaths in Marathi only. He also stated that Telecom companies in Maharashtra should provide Marathi service as well along with English and Hindi. During the Indian Premier League 2010, MNS and Shiv Sena banned Australian Cricketers to play a match in Mumbai as a protest against the attack on Indian students by local Australian.
Later during the Kalyan-Dombivali election in 2010, MNS won 28 seats. MNS has now became one of the dominating party of Maharashtra.
Raj got married to Sharmila Thackeray, daughter of noted Marathi actor-producer Mohan Wagh. The couple has a son named Amit Thackeray, who is now helping Raj in politics and a daughter Urvashi Thackeray.