Mumbai: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, whose party has been relegated to the margins of state politics after its poor performance in last year’s Lok Sabha and state assembly elections, is seeking to launch a party mouthpiece at the end of this year or early next year.

“Though no name has been finalized two names Rajpatra and Marhatta (old way of writing word Maratha) are being considered actively and Thackeray himself will be editor of the newspaper," a senior MNS leader, who did not want to be named, said.

All 11 candidates fielded by Thackeray in the Lok Sabha election lost their deposits. Only one of its candidates managed to get elected to the Maharashtra state assembly.

Rajpatra, which means gazetteer in Marathi, is also a play on Thackeray’s first name.

The Daily Maratha was a newspaper owned and edited by well known Marathi author, playwright, film producer and director and educationist Acharya Atre. It played a crucial role in the Samyukta Maharashtra Chalwal (movement for united Maharashtra) campaign in the 1950s and still has a recall value in the Marathi psyche. The daily closed in the early 1970s.

“However, Atre’s daughter Shirish Pai now owns all rights to the title Daily Maratha and she is not ready to part with rights to the title and that’s why Thackeray is considering the name Marhatta," said a person associated with Marathi publishing industry who did not wish to be named.

When contacted, Pai confirmed that Thackeray had approached her for the rights to the title but she refused to part with them.

Raj’s estranged cousin Uddhav Thackeray, who heads the rival Shiv Sena, already has its own mouthpiece in the Saamna. Owning a newspaper will help Raj Thackeray in the battle for the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) to which elections will be held in January 2017.

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