The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray will not address the party rally on the occasion of Gudhipadwa this year as he is going abroad. The development came days after the closure of a selfie-point by the party leader Sandeep Deshpande at Dadar in Central Mumbai in the wake of MNS' debacle in BMC elections. However, a party official said the festival celebration could be organised at local level with cultural processions and other events to mark the beginning of the Hindu new year, on March 28.
In a private meeting with his party officials, Thackeray informed them that he would not address 'Gudhipadwa' rally this year, as he will be flying out of country during that period. The MNS has been pushed to the margins of the state politics, following successive defeats it has suffered at the hustings. In the BMC elections held last month, the party won only seven seats in Mumbai, which it considers its turf. When asked if the poll debacle was the cause behind
cancellation of the event, MNS officials said the electoral mandate has not affected the morale of the party. The MNS had started celebrating Gudhipadwa on a large scale two years back.
The party typically organises cultural processions to mark the event, while Thackeray delivers a speech in evening on the occasion. The closure of the photo spot at Shivaji Park in Dadar, where youths gathered to take selfies, was developed by Deshpande in his civic ward when he was leader of his party in BMC. He decided to close it after his wife lost the election in the ward on February 21. Deshpande had cited lack of funds for maintenance as the reason for discontinuing the selfie point. Such selfie-points were set up by city corporators ahead of the civic polls to connect with voters, especially youngsters.