The curious silence over the past fortnight of a normally strident voice has led to much speculation, especially in view of the impending Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election, which will take place after the monsoon. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has hardly spoken about the current political developments though his party’s lone MLA supported the Shinde-Fadanvis alliance during the trust vote and election of the State Assembly Speaker. While stray comments emerge from the MNS camp, Thackeray himself has refrained from speaking. Raj underwent surgery recently and is convalescing. While a few prominent visitors have called on him at his Shivaji Park residence in the past few weeks, he himself has not made any public appearance nor addressed any meeting or the media. Otherwise a regular media feature, Raj is said to be biding his time to speak out. The BMC is called the Shiv Sena’s oxygen plant, being the richest civic body in the country. Hence there is little doubt that the Sena will try its best to maintain its stranglehold on it. However, with the changing political equations in Maharashtra, the Eknath Shinde faction and the BJP will spare no efforts to snatch it away. In such a scenario, the role of MNS and Raj Thackeray will be crucial. Whispers are heard that an announcement can be expected soon about this.