Mumbai

Aaditya Thackeray hits the street to connect with Shiv Sena workers amid crisis

Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray waves at supporters as he leaves from Shiv Sena Bhawan after a meeting with party workers at Dadar in Mumbai.

Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray waves at supporters as he leaves from Shiv Sena Bhawan after a meeting with party workers at Dadar in Mumbai. | Photo Credit: PTI

From visiting a Shiv Sena worker in hospital to holding a meeting with party workers in a rebel MLA’s constituency, Yuva Sena chief and Maharashtra’s Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray seems to have taken it upon himself to connect with the party organisation in a bid to control the party’s biggest-ever collapse.

“Those who ran away are calling themselves rebels. Had you been real rebels you would have dared to come face to face and told us about your intention. Those who have left, should resign and contest the elections. Show us if you can win this election without Shiv Sena. We will defeat you,” Mr. Aaditya said at a party meeting in Mumbai on Sunday.

Mr. Aaditya is facing an uphill task of regrouping the party that is struggling after 39 of its MLAs deserted it to join hands with rebel second-in-command Eknath Shinde. In a bid to avoid a vertical split within the party organisation, Mr. Aaditya seems to have stepped up as party president and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s fragile health may bring restrictions on the latter’s movements.

Appealing to party workers to strongly reply to the ‘betrayal’, the junior Thackeray has been using aggressive language in his speeches, making it a point to visit places and boosting the confidence of party workers from the areas where the MLAs have ditched the party and joined the rebel group.

On Monday, he visited families of police personnel residing in BDD chawls in his Assembly constituency of Worli and made the announcement of reducing the construction cost of to be newly redeveloped homes to ₹25 lakh instead of the earlier ₹50 lakh. He also travelled to the neighbouring Karjat to visit a party worker admitted in hospital after being attacked.

“He is not meeting workers and travelling for the first time. But there is qualitative difference between the two. Earlier, he was focused on Yuva Sena, this time it is Shiv Sena. Preference given to the new, Yuva Sena cadre within the party is one of the reasons of present condition of the party. The old guards wanted more say in matters of governance and party organisation,” said Sanjay Patil, researcher at the civics and politics department of Mumbai University.

According to M.r Patil, who has written a thesis on the Sena, the lack of access to the leadership is not a two-and-half-years-old phenomena in the party.

“When it became clear that Uddhav will replace Balasaheb, Narayan Rane and Raj Thackeray rebelled. When Aaditya was promoted and started interfering, Shinde has revolted. Problem is, Sena’s top leadership hasn’t learned from mistakes. I think, it is time that Aaditya should introspect and bring changes,” he added.

A Sena corporator from Mumbai, on the condition of anonymity, accepted that access was a problem for them too but he has no confusion on who is going to be the next chief of the party.

“The future is Aaditya. But I wish he travels more and expands his circle within the party. One must understand that, party has to focus on its voter from rural part as well. Those who joined Shinde were all from rural Maharashtra. Aaditya will have to work on this,” he said.  


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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 7:54:55 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/junior-thackeray-hits-the-street/article65572025.ece