Jaidev Thackeray, the elder brother of Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, shared the stage with Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde at the rebel faction’s Dussehra rally at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai.
Jaidev Thackeray’s estranged wife Smita was also present at the MMRDA ground in BKC, the rally site in suburban Mumbai, along with Nihar, the son of late Bindumadhav Thackeray, Uddhav Thackeray’s eldest brother.
A vacant chair used by Shiv Sena founder late Bal Thackeray during his last rally in Thane was placed at the centre of the stage.
Champa Singh Thapa, a trusted aide of the late Bal Thackeray who served the Shiv Sena founder for 27 years, was also present at the event.
Talking to reporters, Smita Thackeray said she was invited to the rally by Shinde, who heads the rebel faction of the Shiv Sena.
Jaidev Thackeray shares an uneasy relationship with his younger brother Uddhav Thackeray.
In his brief speech, Jaidev lauded the “courageous step” (of charting a new course) that Shinde had taken and urged the workers not to abandon him.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led faction organised its own Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park in central Mumbai. Both Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray claim their faction is the “real” Shiv Sena.
Shinde’s rebellion against Uddhav Thackeray’s leadership had led to the collapse of the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in June.