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Will Aaditya's electoral debut bring 'achche din' for Sena?

Last updated on: October 01, 2019 17:54 IST

Shiv Sena's Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut last week met NCP chief Sharad Pawar requesting him not field a candidate against Aaditya Thackeray in Worli. 

IMAGE: Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray, the elder son of party chief Uddhav Thackeray, seated with his mother Rashmi during a rally to announce his candidature from Worli seat for upcoming Maharashtra assembly elections, in Mumbai, on Monday. Photograph: Shashank Parade/PTI Photo

Aaditya Thackeray's decision to contest the Maharashtra assembly polls has the potential to bring in "achche din" for the Shiv Sena, which over past few years has been forced to play second fiddle to senior ally Bharatiya Janata Party, says a Sena leader.

Aaditya, the 27-year-old elder son of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, on Monday said he will contest the assembly elections scheduled for October 21.

With this, he will become the first member of the Thackeray clan ever to contest an election.

According to a party source, the Yuva Sena chief is a voracious reader, has the ability to hold his own in debates about the metropolis and the state, and has a connect with the grassroot Sainiks.

"All these factors strengthen his appeal," he said.

 

Aaditya Thackeray joined politics in 2009 and since then has been actively working in the organisation, building a cadre of new young leaders by being in the background, Harshal Pradhan, a close aide of the Sena president said.

"In the last ten years, he travelled across the state to understand and grasp the issues on the ground. Hence, he decided to break the family tradition of not contesting elections," Pradhan said.

He is the "only leader in the country below the age of 30" who has already toured the entire state through his 'Jan Ashirwad' yatra and addressed over 75 'Aaditya sansads' (a two-way communication with youth), Yuva Sena secretary Varun Sardesai claimed.

The other youth leaders (of other parties) in the country are over 40 years of age, Sardesai, who is Aaditya Thackeray's cousin, pointed out.

"All the data that he has collected during these extensive tours is being used to prepare Sena's manifesto. With Aaditya in the fray, the Sena's 'achche din' (good days) are all set to come," he said.

The Shiv Sena has been projecting him as the chief ministerial face if the party bags the highest number of seats in the next month's assembly polls.

In the 2014 assembly polls, the Sena won 63 out of the total 288 seats, second only to BJP's 122, with both parties then contesting separately.

The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party had then promised support and wanted the Sena to stake claim for the chief minister's post.

"But Uddhavji declined saying he wouldn't compromise on the issue of his party's Hindutva ideology for the sake of power," a source in the Sena recalled.

IMAGE: Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray, the elder son of party chief Uddhav Thackeray, with his brother Tejas during a rally. Photograph: Shashank Parade/PTI Photo

Senior Sena leaders like Eknath Shinde and Subhash Desai also persuaded the party president for the need to have somebody from the family in the state assembly, looking at the current political scenario, he said.

"(Thus) Worli was chosen as a safe seat. Inducting NCP leader Sachin Ahir, who had earlier been an MLA from Worli seat in Mumbai, into the Sena was part of the plan," the source said.

Shiv Sena's Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut last week met NCP chief Sharad Pawar requesting him not field a candidate against Aaditya Thackeray in Worli, he said.

He reminded the Maratha strongman how Sena supremo late Bal Thackeray had done such a favour during the election of the former's daughter Supriya Sule to the Rajya Sabha, the source said.

"Aaditya Thackeray has a say in all matters in the Sena, and will be the party's face in the upcoming Assembly polls," he said.

The party is of the view that the Sena and the BJP should share the chief minister's post for equal period of time, but may agree to deputy chief minister's post for Aaditya Thackeray, he added.

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