TWENTY-ONE months after the Shiv Sena-BJP combine marched into Mantralaya, an extraordinary thing is happening. Middle-class Maharashtrians, who dared not question Bal Thackerays antics for reasons of kinship, admiration and fear, are beginning to wonder if the Hindu Hriday Samrat really has their interests at heart.
Such introspection, in the euphoria of a surprise victory, would have been unthinkable just a year ago. The rethink has been prompted by Thackerays response to the murder of Ramesh Kini, the anti-corruption crusade by Anna Hazare and the outburst of writer P.L. Deshpande.
By attacking the very ethos dear to middle-class heartsjustice (Kini), morality (Hazare) and culture (Deshpande)the Sena is alienating its core constituents. "Those who brought them to power are beginning to feel the brunt," says Mahanagar editor Nikhil Wagle.
Blame it on Thackerays tongue. When Hazare sought the resignation of agriculture minister Shashikant Sutar and irrigation...