After winning 41 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena alliance is preparing for the upcoming state assembly elections, which are due in the month of October later this year. It is worth mentioning that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said in his first interview after the Parliamentary elections that the BJP-Shiv Sena will fight the Maharashtra Assembly polls jointly. He said, “I am sure we will set a record. Do not be surprised if we cross the 220 marks.”
Reports suggest that Aaditya Thackeray would be contesting state assembly polls from Sewri or Worli constituency. If this happens, Aaditya will be the first from the Thackeray family to contest elections. The senior leaders of Shiv Sena told AV on the condition of anonymity that, the Yuva Sena chief is likely to contest the upcoming assembly election from Worli or Sewri constituency. It is also speculation that the Thackeray cub can be the CM face from the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance in the upcoming state polls. However, the official announcement regarding both the reports is expected to be made soon.
On being asked about Aaditya Thackeray contesting the upcoming assembly elections Shiv Sena MLA and spokesperson Neelam Gorhe told Afternoon Voice, “Uddhav Thackeray is the party chief, and he is the father of Aaditya Thackeray. So, definitely, he knows and has got all good feelings for his own son. Aditya is very near and dear to all Shiv Sainiks. So, Uddhav will take an appropriate decision at the appropriate time. What we are expecting that Aaditya should be in the assembly.”
Aaditya Thackeray is the son of Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray. His father and grand-father late Balasaheb Thackeray used to run the party through remote control. Both leaders never contested any elections. The Shiv Sena was founded in 1966. Thus, Aaditya Thackeray is going to change 52 years of history by contesting the election. It will be a great change in the Shiv Sena’s history.
BJP’s Regional Vice President Vasant Gite said, “The Shiv Sena should bring youths to the fore. It is a very good indication. Aaditya Thackeray should come forward to contest the election.”
The speculations were generated after Yuva Sena General Secretary Varun Sardesai posted a picture of Aaditya Thackeray on Instagram which read, “The time is here, Maharashtra waits for you”. With this, the demand for Thackeray to contest the upcoming assembly polls has increased. In the recent national elections, Aaditya Thackeray actively participated during the campaigning process for his party. The Yuva Sena chief is popular among the youth and it wouldn’t be surprising if Thackeray contests the state assembly elections.
The thumping victory of NDA in the Lok Sabha elections has boosted the morale of all constituent parties, including the Shiv Sena. Now, leaders of the party are claiming for the CM’s post. They said that it is their turn to share the chair of CM. Thus, if Aaditya Thackeray will fight the assembly election, he will be the party’s CM face definitely.
Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe said, “It is an internal matter of the Shiv Sena. There will be no difference. The kingmaker wants to be king. Earlier, the same thing was talked about Uddhav Thackeray. I have no authorised information about whether Aaditya will contest the election or not. Because even if he wants to be Deputy CM or hold any portfolio, he can take the route of the legislative assembly. It is always a good thing in democracy to contest the election. Whether he will be the CM face is a very integral decision of the Shiv Sena and BJP alliance.”
Before the Lok Sabha elections, too, the Shiv Sena had indicated that it might field Aaditya Thackeray in the general elections to increase the party’s appeal among the youths. Then Shiv Sena leaders had said that the party cadre wanted Aaditya to contest Lok Sabha polls. However, he is keen to fight Maharashtra State Assembly elections. They said that Aaditya Thackeray’s presence in the state legislature would be a positive influence on the party legislators. It is remarkable that Aaditya has maintained a practice for the last five years to visit the Assembly when it is in session.
The Shiv Sena-BJP relationship in Maharashtra has seen a succession of both good and bad experiences in the last five years. In 2014, relations between two parties were strained when the Shiv Sena sent Aaditya Thackeray as its representative to speak with veteran BJP leaders Om Prakash Mathur and Rajiv Pratap Rudy to discuss seat-sharing formula of Lok Sabha elections. Both parties fought the 2014 assembly elections separately. Later on, in political compulsion, they formed a post-election alliance in Maharashtra. In spite of this, the Shiv Sena always hit back at the centre and the state government.