How many 18-year-olds will have governors and ministers willing to meet them and listen to what they have to say?
On Tuesday, 18-year-old Aditya, grandson of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and son of party executive president Uddhav Thackeray, led a Sena students’ wing delegation to meet Governor S.C. Jamir seeking an early solution to the college teachers’ strike. Though he was accompanied by Abhijit Panse who heads the Sena’s Bhartiya Vidyarthi Sena, it was clear who called the shots.
“I have not yet thought of entering politics, but currently I want to concentrate on raising issues related to the youths,” Aditya said. “Today, I requested the governor to intervene in the matter as the state has failed us.” He also plans to issue an appeal to the striking teachers to reconsider their stance or at least hold classes till the issue is resolved.
Ten days ago, Aditya had met Higher Education Minister Rajesh Tope seeking government intervention to end the teachers’ strike.
So is this a soft launch into politics of the third generation of Thackerays? “We do not need to do anything chori-chhuppe (stealthily). If Aditya so wishes and if the people accept him, I will launch him very publicly into politics,” said Uddhav. (see interview). For the past few months, Aditya has been active in public life. He has launched a non-governmental organisation,‘The Dreams we Share’. He has also penned a book of poetry, Black and White.
Bal Thackeray senior was one of the most trenchant critics of the Nehru-Gandhi family's rule in India. He had even declared in his public meetings that he would not bring in his family members to run the party. However, in 2003 he ushered in his son Uddhav as Executive President of the Shiv Sena.
In the years that followed, Thackeray made it clear that Uddhav would be his successor. Even as his nephew Raj and former chief minister Narayan Rane revolted against Uddhav’s leadership, Thackeray backed his son.
Now, the third generation member of the Thackeray family is taking his baby steps in politics.