Putting to rest speculation that he would take his father’s post in the Shiv Sena, the party’s executive president Uddhav Thackeray made it clear that late Bal Thackeray would continue to be Sena pramukh (party chief).
“There will not be another Sena pramukh,” Uddhav said, in his interview, which was published in the party mouthpiece, Saamna, on Sunday. “I don’t deserve to occupy the post.”
Bal Thackeray died on November 17 after prolonged illness.
Party leaders wanted Uddhav to formally accept the post that was held by his father since the inception of the Shiv Sena in 1966.
Though Uddhav had been handling the party’s day-to-day functioning even while his father was alive, it was Bal Thackeray who continued to command unquestioned loyalty among the Sena cadre.
Top Sena leaders held a meeting on Saturday, where it was decided that all the powers bestowed on Bal Thackeray would be passed to Uddhav. The meeting was attended by leaders such as Manohar Joshi, Sudhir Joshi, Liladhar Dake, Subhash Desai, Ramdas Kadam and Sanjay Raut.
Uddhav also dismissed rumours that he would be slowing down because of his health issues. He has had to undergo angioplasty procedures twice in the past few months, which have raised questions about his ability to lead the party.
“I am undertaking a short tour across the state this week to thank people for the support they have shown after Balasaheb passed away. I will just stand before the people with folded hands,” he said.
Uddhav will embark on bigger statewide tour in between January and February.
In the interview, Uddhav sent a message to the Sena cadre to start preparations for the 2014 Assembly elections. “It is time to stop mourning and start the fight according to the path shown by Balasaheb,” he said. “I will tour the state and we will win power. This is the promise I gave to Balasaheb.”