Senior Sena leader Manohar Gajanan Joshi (75), the man who was Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s key aide who bagged all the top posts of the Shiv Sena rising from Mumbai mayor, Maharashtra chief minister upto the Lok Sabha speaker, is irked following an indication by party leadership that he might be kept away from the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
After a 2-hour-long discussion with Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday, Joshi is said to have been subtly told that he might not get a Lok Sabha ticket to any of the three seats that he has laid claim to – South central Mumbai, Thane or Kalyan. This has left Joshi sulking.
The primary seat that he was staking claim to- South central Mumbai- which covers his homeground area of Dadar- Mahim- Sion extending to Dharavi was the issue of contention after civic standing committee chief Rahul Shewale went all out to put up his posters and banners in all Ganesh pandals during the festival recently.
“ The final decision has not yet been taken. But I was not very pleased with the way Shewale went ahead and put up banners and posters as if he has been given the party ticket. I have expressed my displeasure about this to Uddhav today in the meeting,” said the 75-year old leader while talking to HT.
According to Sena insiders who attended the meeting, the party leadership has more or less finalised that younger faces which connect with the grassroot workers should be given Lok Sabha tickets.
Also the South Central area is a MNS stronghold where they are certain to field a young face. Sena sources added that informally Shewale’s candidature has been finalised and he has been given a green signal to go ahead and start a subtle campaign.
“Joshi sir has worked with Balasaheb to build the party and has always got plum positions in the organization. However gauging the mood of the upcoming elections and the huge youth population, the preference will be given to younger people. Sir is one of the senior most leader in the party and his guidance will always be taken,” a senior sena leader said.
But Joshi denied being considered only in the capacity of a mentor. “ No one has told me that. And I have been very clear about asking for a Lok Sabha ticket,” he added.