Although Uddhav Thackeray has been formally appointed president of the Shiv Sena, there is a sense of discontent within the party over him not making any changes to the party’s council of leaders.
The Sena national executive meeting that took place on Wednesday was closely watched by many for two reasons — the new posts that may have been created and a set of new directions for the party.
Of the 13 official ‘leaders’ or netas who had been appointed from time to time (including founder members), four have passed away. This had created expectations that the vacant seats would be filled up.
“Apart from announcing the Sena game plan, there was the anticipation of Uddhav revealing his team. It was a necessary move that would have sent a message to the Sainiks on the Sena’s future,” said political expert Surendra Jondhale.
But Uddhav, Sena sources said, decided not to make any changes considering the long list of aspirants, and the dissatisfaction any hasty appointments would have created.
“We were told that there would be changes in the line-up of party leaders; that it would be infused with younger leaders and older ones wouldbe given advisory roles. But in-fighting among the second-rung leaders close to Uddhavji compelled him not to make any changes,” said a senior Sena leader.
According to Sena sources, there are several aspirants for the four seats, including MP Anil Desai, Uddhav’s PA Milind Narvekar, legislator and women’s activist Neelam Gorhe, legislator Ravindra Waikar, legislator and legal expert Anil Parab and Vinayak Raut.
But a senior contender for the post said “If you look at the resolution passed on Wednesday, it says Uddhavji will have the power to allot posts and remove people. We are hoping that once he begins his month-long tour, these changes will come through,” a Sena legislator said.