After the catastrophic breakout within the Shiv Sena, Thackerays had to lose power. Perhaps this was one shocker and eye-opener event for the family. All these while Thackeray’s never realized that the power was in their hand but their own party was slithering from them. Uddhav never attended people; Aaditya had a tremendous superiority complex. They were never open to visiting people or winning their hearts. In my 20 years of journalism career, this is the first time I could never get a chance to meet CM Thackeray. For the publicity and photo op, he met a few people of his own plot but not the common masses.
Even if we blame ED and central agencies, why were only these leaders on the radar? Why not Subhash Desai or other leaders? There has to be some fire to see the smoke. I don’t deny that the BJP has misused central agencies, but I also do not buy the logic that the ED is the sole reason to force these leaders to quit Shiv Sena. Internally all was not well and the anger mounted so much that the leaders rebelled. After realizing the mistake, Uddhav and Aaditya are running to the poll to communicate with Shiv Sainiks and save their souls. Otherwise, it was only Sanjay Raut who was battling it from four corners. Raut was a little irritating with his way of dialogue delivery but he was never disloyal to his party.
Now father and son touching the ground and reaching out to the people In Maharashtra, the effects of the Sena versus Sena political crisis can be seen at the district level, with Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde announcing that he will be visiting the same districts, Nashik, Ahmednagar and Aurangabad, where Aaditya Thackeray’s Shiv Samvad Yatra was held last week. Maharashtra CM Shinde is on a three-day tour from today. Wherever he reaches he nullifies the stand of Thackeray. Eknath is a seasoned Sainik and he was skilled not only under Dighe but also Balasaheb, he has those peculiar traits of both. He knows where to divert the wind. All this while he got close to Sena leaders being a provider and protector, and Uddhav was left to CM post getting detached for the roots.
Over the past three weeks, he has actually begun to connect with people. Uddhav and his son Aaditya have been holding meetings with remaining party representatives, visiting party offices and trying to stimulate the party cadre that has remained loyal to him. Balasaheb was authoritative but was very possessive of his Sainiks and party leaders. In his era, some leaders rebelled but none of them could submerge the party. Uddhav lacks that robustness. Above all this is the era of social media. BJP and its followers successfully created the negative, anti-Hindu perception of Shiv Sena. Now no Navneet Rana is on the streets to recite Hanuman Chalisa and no protest against the loudspeakers in the mosque. The IT and ED raids have stalled, by joining the BJP alliance all the corrupts are authenticated as honest. Now the only focus is on bow and arrow.
Kirit Somaya is calm, media trials have weakened, no ST workers protest, and all have been settled in the state as if someone has done the magic. I wish Uddhav could have cared for Shakhas, his ground-level Sainiks and those who unconditionally loved the family. The father-son duo now focusing on Mumbai which has been Sena’s stronghold. Out of 14 Sena MLAs in Mumbai, five have defected with Shinde while eight are still with Thackeray (one died and the seat remains vacant). Most Sena councillors have also stood by Thackeray so far. After Mumbai, the Thackerays decided to mobilise the party cadre and establish a connection with the people statewide. Thackeray’s close aides insist that the Sena’s voters have not shifted their loyalty. But this time they both should make every effort to reach out to their voters. In the 2014 assembly elections, even at the height of the Modi wave, Shiv Sena contested against BJP in a triangular fight and won 63 seats. In the 2019 assembly elections, they won 55 seats in alliance with BJP. Many seats Sena have won in the two successive elections have a traditional Shiv Sena support base which remains loyal to the party and not the MLA. That’s why Uddhav and Aaditya should connect with the people and ground-level workers.
At present Aaditya Thackeray’s future is not looking very good. It looks like he will have the same place as Rahul Gandhi in the current scenario. No credibility, no administrative experience. In coming years if they lose to BMC then nothing much remains for them. The ambience in Shiv Sena is hardly conducive to training future leaders of the country. Controversy and confrontation are never the hallmarks of leadership. Of the three types of behaviour, aggressiveness, assertiveness and passiveness is the way to go. Whereas Shinde as CM brilliantly seeping into the emotions of people, visited dilapidated Police quarters, he announced road repairs, he is talking about gutter, water and meter issues of people. Slowly people will disassociate him with the rebel tag.
For now, both the camps are keenly awaiting the Supreme Court’s hearing on August 1 when the top court is expected to deal with a bunch of petitions challenging decisions and actions taken by the rival camps. The court verdict will have a major impact on the political drama in Maharashtra that began on June 20. Speaking as a Marathi, born, living and voting every time in Maharashtra and knowing the mindset of the people around, we used to support Uddhav more than Raj because of the image Balasaheb Ji had in our mind, he was trustable and wouldn’t change his ideology at whatever cost unlike his son Uddhav.
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