Raj Shrikant Thackeray biography, facts, career, awards, net worth, and life story

Raj Shrikant Thackeray (Marathi pronunciation [ra:dZ thakre” ]), born Swararaj Shrikant Thackeray on 14th June , 1968) is an Indian politician and chairperson of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) which is a regional political party. He is the cousin of Bal Thackeray and is a relative to Shiv Sena chief as well as the 19th and current Chief Minister for Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray.

Childhood and early life

Raj Thackeray’s name is a symbol of Swararaj. The parents of his father were Shrikant Thackeray (younger brother of Bal Thackeray) and Kunda Thackeray (younger sister of Bal Thackeray’s wife Meena Thackeray). When he was a kid, he learned tabla as well as guitar, and violin. 1 Thackeray graduated from the Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Arts[3]. After graduation, Thackeray was a part of Marmik the weekly publication from Bal Thackeray, as a cartoonist. [1][non-primary sources required[non-primary source required]

Politics and career

Early days in Shiv Sena

Thackeray began his political career when he launched the student section of Shiv sena called Bharatiya Vidyarthi sena. He gained a lot of attention in the 1990 Maharashtra Assembly elections. In the 1990s Raj believed that he was the uncle’s heir, Balasaheb. Yet, Balasaheb showed strong preference for his own son Uddhav.

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena

A few years after being marginalized and disillusioned, Thackeray left Shiv sena on 27th November 2005. He also announced his plans to establish an entirely new political party. On March 9, 2006, at Mumbai, Thackeray founded “Maharashtra Navnirman Sena” party. [4]


2008 Anti-North Indian campaign

In February 2008, Raj Thackeray led a violent protest against the migrants who came from North Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in Maharashtra and, more importantly, in the capital city of Maharashtra, Mumbai. In a rally within Shivaji Park, Raj warned that in the event that there was a continuation of the Dadagiri (intimidating the power) of the people (North Indians) in Mumbai and Maharashtra was not stopped, he would be forced to force them to quit the city. 7 Raj was detained with the Samajwadi Party leader, Abu Azmi and was later released after paying a fine that was Rs15,000 (US$200).

Australian ban

His party as well as Shiv Sena, banned Australian cricketers who were participating the IPL 3 from playing in Mumbai to protest the attacks on Indian schoolchildren in Australia. [8]

Signs for businesses in Marathi

The month of July was when Raj made a statement to the public that stores in Mumbai were required to have Marathi signboards, in addition to the current English signboards. Raj warned that, after one months, MNS workers would start the process of blackening signboards that were not Marathi. Although there was laws in this regard previously passed by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (MC), it hadn’t been implemented. The month of September, 2008 MNS employees resorted the blackening of signboards to enforce the requirement following which the majority of proprietors of shops complied. Six MNS workers were detained however, they were later released with bail. [10]

Jaya Bachchan

Jaya Bachchan, veteran actor and MP of the Samajwadi Party, during the music premiere of the Hindi film Drona she said, ‘Hum UP (Uttar Pradesh) log hain isliye Hindi baat karenge, Maharashtra ke log Maaf Kijiye’ (We are people of UP and we’ll be speaking in Hindi. Maharashtra is a part from Maharashtra Please excuse). 11. Thackeray said she did not have any right to be referring to the whole population of Maharashtra in her statement. He threatened to block all Bachchan films until Jaya apologized in an open forum for hurting Maharashtrians. MNS workers started to attack cinemas showing films that were a part of her. It was only when Amitabh apologized that the screenings resumed. In the wake of Raj’s threats, Maharashtra Police acted against Raj by imposing gag orders that prevented Raj from speaking with the media. [13]

Jet airways staff reinstatement

On October 28, 2008 Jet Airways laid off 800 temporary employees and announced layoffs for an additional 1100 employees. The workers who were laid off comprised Marathi and Indians from North India. Thackeray was called upon to intervene. In the aftermath, Raj Thackeray declared that many of the workers made security deposit to Jet Airways and he was going to meet Jet management to argue their cause. If Jet Airways cancelled the layoffs and his party refused to let anyone on a Jet Airways plane to take off from any airport in Maharashtra. In the one year of the Raj Thackeray’s decision, Jet chairman Naresh Goyal reversed the layoffs, and reinstated fired employees. He stated that he was able to do it by himself and there was no pressure from the political establishment on him. [15][16]

On the 2nd of October, 2009 MNS employees disrupted screenings of Wake Up Sid on its release in just a few Pune and Mumbai theaters, following Raj opposed references to “Bombay” instead of “Mumbai”. Mumbai was the city that Mumbai was mentioned by the name of “Bombay” in a number of scenes[17] as well as in a few songs (lyrics written by Javed Akhtar). The film’s director, Karan Johar, visited Raj’s home to apologize, and agreed to Raj’s terms, which included an apology for every single frame that were used in the documentary. [18]

Telecom companies operating in Maharashtra have been offering customer support in English and Hindi only. Raj requested that all the telecom providers operating in Maharashtra begin providing customer service in Marathi in addition, and set a date for the 27th of February, 2010, following which his party MNS would begin an uprising. After this request the telecom companies all agreed, introducing Marathi as an alternative option to their customer service. [19]

In December 2011 Raj Thackeray meeting a group of MES (Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti) suggested to reconsider their decision to merge Belgaum with Maharashtra to benefit the Marathi natives of Belgaum. A significant departure from the previously held position of the traditional right-wing groups in Maharashtra, Raj Thackeray pointed that a rational method instead of emotion-driven one was the requirement for the moment. He also argued that in the event that it is the case that Supreme Court of India itself decides in favor of Belgaum’s merging the two cities would agree to it however, the local circumstances in Belgaum is not to be undermined in the name of the decision. He demanded to the MES officials to establish the real issue whether the Marathis of Belgaum are targeted because of supporting the issue of Marathi language or because they are in favor of merging Belgaum together with Maharashtra. The MES leader lamented that bandhs and strikes just add to the misery of the Marathi community of Belgaum, Thackeray said: “If the Karnataka government is prepared to recognize the Marathi people as well as their culture and language, then there’s nothing wrong with Belgaum being in the city. “[20His remarks were widely criticized by the cousin Uddhav as an insult to his fellow Marathi people. [21]


Raj Thackeray and his party, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, claim the fact that Maharashtra State, Marathi language and Marathi Manoos are influenced through influences of Marathi politicians. He has also opposed the migration to Maharashtra by people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. [23]

Raj was criticized by Raj North Indian leaders for politicising Chhath Puja, a religious festival which is popular in the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand declaring it as a “drama” and it was a “show of power numerically”. He claimed that Chhath Puja was a political trick used by certain groups to get northern Indian vote. The petition was filed with the Patna civil court on February 8 against him over his comments. His remarks were criticized by political leaders particularly who hail from North Indian states. He accused immigrants of flooding Maharashtra India’s largest industrialised state, to find jobs. 26. In addition, the MNS Chief also accused immigrants of disdaining the local culture. In 2008, when he spoke about his views on the new immigrants who are settling in Mumbai, Raj said, “New newcomers to Mumbai are not allowed entry into the city, and those who have already settled here should be respectful of the Marathi “manoos” and his customs”. [27]

Thackeray as well as his political party has been accused for using violence in their protests, particularly towards the immigrants of UP as well as Bihar. Concerning the use of violence Thackeray declares that violence is a component of all agitations within Indian politics There are many instances of more violence committed by other groups and parties. According Thackeray, the instances of violence against the members from his group have been disproportionately made public through North Indian politicians and journalists. [23]

Thackeray had initially praised the former chief minister of Gujarat and current Premier of India, Narendra Modi for his management style and progress made in Gujarat during his time as the chief minister. He also expressed his support for Modi to be the Prime Minister in this year’s Lok Sabha election. However, later he regretted his support for Modi and has since been vocal in his criticism of Modi as well as Modi and the NDA government. For the elections in 2019 in the Lok Sabha, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena did not run for any seats. Instead, Thackeray advised the party’s supporters to vote for the alliance of NCP and Congress in which Thackeray fought for candidates from these parties. [30]

Thackeray’s MNS opposed the central government’s decision to give the Padma Shri, the fourth most prestigious civilian award in India the country, to Adnan Sami in a claim that Sami was not an initial Indian citizen. [31]

Personal life

Thackeray has been married for a while to Sharmila Wagh who is the mother of Marathi cinema photographer, producer and director Mohan Wagh. Their son Amit Thackeray, and a daughternamed Urvashi Thackeray. His children were educated at Bombay Scottish School, Mahim, a well-known Mumbai English medium-sized school that was founded in 1847 by Scottish Christian missionaries in 1847