The landslide victory of the Yuva Sena, the Shiv Sena’s youth wing led by party chief Bal Thackeray’s grandson, Aditya, in the senate elections at the University of Mumbai has exposed internal differences among his opponents.
While the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sena (MNVS) got only two seats out of 10, the student wings of the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party won nothing.
The final results were declared on Thursday.
Members of these defeated groups blame groupism in their outfits for this defeat.
In the MNVS, it was the differences between a faction led by MNVS president Aditya Shirodkar and Chhatra Bharti, a students’ group led by Gajanan Kale, which was recently merged into the MNVS.
“There was no planning at all and no one to direct us,” said a senior MNVS functionary, requesting anonymity because his comments could create controversy.
Sandeep Deshpande, vice president of the MNVS blamed his party’s defeat on the low enrollment of voters. “Unlike the Sena, we failed to enroll more members and hence got less seats,” Deshpande said.
Political commentator Nilu Damle said the MNVS failed to cash in on Raj Thackeray’s popularity.
“Raj Thackeray is popular among the youth but there was no effort to convert this into votes,” Damle said.
In contrast, Sena party workers were on the field with corporators and senior party functionaries visiting voters with a letter from Aditya.
“Aditya Thackeray’s charisma made magic and lifted the spirits of our cadre,” said Suraj Chavan, a key member of Aditya’s team.
The Congress cadre that fought under the banner of the Bombay Graduates Forum did not win a single seat.
Sources within the party said the reason was the bitter fight between Mumbai Congress chief, Kripashankar Singh, and Union minister Gurudas Kamat.
The Kamat faction, which dominated the senate, was nowhere on the scene and Singh did not take any interest in the polls.
“We lost because there was no guidance or support from the party,” a candidate, who lost the poll, said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to comment on the issue.
Simmering tension between general secretary Vinod Tawde and city Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president, Raj Purohit, spoilt the party for the BJP.
Tawde’s group, which once dominated student politics, hardly showed any interest this time.