ord Rama is no more a privilege of BJP, they grabbed whatever votes they could and switched over to development agenda. After receiving the cold shoulder from BJP, Chief of Ram Janmabhoomi Trust, Janmejay Sharanji Maharaj met Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray. The trust chief invited Thackeray to visit Ayodhya which was accepted. After the recent hearing on Ayodhya, Shiv Sena upped the ante on Ram Temple construction and said that the Modi government should immediately start with the construction. Shiv Sena’s posters of ‘Chalo Ayodhya, Chalo Varanasi’ were seen in many areas of Mumbai. It is believed that Thackeray’s proposed visit to the holy city of Ayodhya and Varanasi has been planned to increase pressure on the BJP. By playing the Hindutva card before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Thackeray plans to corner the BJP in its own turf. Uddhav is planning to participate in Ganga Aarti and will also see what has been done to clean the Ganga. Apart from this, he will also visit Ram Lalla and will offer his prayers inside the temple. A public meeting is also planned and Thackeray will address a public gathering as well. Uddhav’s father too came in the limelight and known to the nation after his stern stand on Babri demolition. After the 1980s, the Sena organisation had grown and begun aiming for power in the state and became a credible threat to the Congress. He began wooing the voters on the basis of right-wing Hindutva (political Hinduism) and anti-Muslim rhetoric. In 1992, after the Babri Mosque was demolished in the northern town of Ayodhya, Mumbai witnessed its worst-ever riots between Hindus and Muslims which went on for weeks. The Sena and its cadre took full part in the rioting in which 900 people, including 575 Muslims and 275 Hindus died and hundreds of thousands left the city never to return.
A coalition government of the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party, which had also put Hindutva on its central agenda, came into the power in Maharashtra to rule for the first time. When Shiv Sena was formed, the social conditions in Maharashtra were different. Sena was not formed with political ambitions and purposes. The main objective of Shiv Sena, at the time of formation, was the well-being of Maharashtrians and so the ‘Marathi Manoos’ [Maharashtrian person]. Subsequent to ‘Samyukta Maharashtra Movement’, rest of the groups like the communist became dormant. However, problems of Marathi Manoos were not solved. Then, it was felt that unless Shiv Sena becomes active in politics, no change is possible. Thereafter, it became a political party. Bal Thackeray was the founder of Sena and therefore, he struggled a lot to sustain it; whereas, Uddhav has got all power of Shiv Sena, only because he happened to be the son of late Bal Thackeray. Obviously, the issues during the initial days of Shiv Sena and today, when it has remained only a political party are different. By visiting Ayodhya, Uddhav can generate that same feeling in people what Balasaheb invoked. This very decision of Thackrey can bring trouble to BJP because till today, they behaved like the lords of Rama and the custodians of Ganga and did nothing.
There is a great difference of perceiving the problems be setting the nation between Uddhav and Balasaheb Thackeray. Balasaheb Thackeray considered supporting anyone or any party supporting the cause of Hindus or Hinduism wholeheartedly. He never cared who the person or party was. It is because of this nonchalant support that he was getting so much of encouragement and a huge following. Uddhav, on the other hand, is more concerned with humdrum issues and too selfish to think only on personal gains. He considered power will solve all the problems. For Uddhav, power is the ultimate goal, for Balasaheb, Hindutva was the goal. Balasaheb Thackeray considered that power comes only if he delivers or supports the cause of the majority of the people. Hence, he took the cause of Hindus. It paid him dividend and the power came to his doorsteps. Entire Maharashtra supported him. When he gave the call, all of them came forward without questioning him or his intention. Uddhav does not enjoy such wholehearted support which his father was commanding, because he spoiled his career by taking a different path, of compromising on principles. His support to Congress, praising Rahul, condemning BJP and Modi being a part of the government, has made him a character to be detested. More and more people are getting disenchanted. He is losing his grip over his supporters. His credibility too is undermined.
No doubt, Balasaheb Thackeray never promoted Modi as a pro-Hindu image. Modi is the person from whom Shiv Sainiks were worried because he had all capacity to eat the vote bank of Shiv Sena. This was after looking at Modi’s capacity to garner Hindu votes when Balasaheb Thackeray also thought that in the long run, Modi won’t be in control of Uddhav Thackeray. Balasaheb each time supported Sushma Swaraj as the PM candidate of BJP and not Narendra Modi. During his tenure as Gujarat CM, Modi didn’t allow the Hindu party to grow despite a lot of efforts by Shiv Sena. After Balasaheb, when Uddhav became in charge, he was not given the respect of the Balasaheb cadre, which was natural. Uddhav was expecting top BJP leaders to visit Matoshree, his official residency. Earlier, during Balasaheb’s reign, it was a common sight and leaders like L K Advani and A B Vajpayee used to visit Matoshree; but as Uddhav took charge, the BJP leaders stopped as this generation leaders were much more capable and powerful than Uddhav. Balasaheb was a natural leader. He was a person who knew the pulse of the common man. Therefore, he was connected with the masses. He was good at reading the mood of the public and knew what they expected and had an ability to express the public mood with a natural aggression. When Uddhav tries to imitate Balasaheb, he forgets that Balasaheb was not parachuted as the party boss like himself. Since Balasaheb built the party and was connected to the ground, he had the judgement and knew when to get aggressive. Uddhav lacks this connect and judgement and therefore, tries to be aggressive on everything. After all the experiences, finally, Uddhav has realised the core essence of Shiv Sena, good that he is visiting Ayodhya and making it nostalgic for his voters.
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