Raj Thackeray's senior aide walks back to Shiv Sena
Peeved by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray's abrupt move to dissolve the party's women's wing, senior leader Shweta Parulekar returned to the Shiv Sena fold on Thursday.india Updated: Jul 09, 2009 18:46 IST
Peeved by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray's abrupt move to dissolve the party's women's wing, senior leader Shweta Parulekar returned to the Shiv Sena fold on Thursday.
Parulekar headed the MNS women's wing and was also the general secretary of the party, which is in the thick of preparations for the state assembly elections in October.
The women and labour wings of the MNS were dissolved by Raj Thackeray last month in a bid to infuse new blood and strengthen them for the challenges of the ensuing polls, a party office-bearer said.
Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray met and officially welcomed Parulekar back into the party she had left a few years ago to join the MNS. It was not clear what post she would hold in the party, although Sena circles hinted that she may be involved with the party's women's wing.
Shortly after returning to the Sena, Parulekar told mediapersons that she could not perform to her full potential in the MNS. She also expressed her displeasure at being removed from the key post of the MNS women's wing head.
Sena spokeman Sanjay Raut welcoming Parulekar's "homecoming" said many like her were misguided into leaving the party.
"With Parulekar's return, we are confident that many more youthful leaders will rejoin the Shiv Sena and we shall welcome them," the Sena's Rajya Sabha MP said.
Barely a month after the Lok Sabha elections in which his party severely dented the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine's prospects, Raj Thackeray dissolved the women's and labour wings on June 22.
Though it was intended to give a chance to new and young leaders, party insiders claimed that Raj Thackeray was fed up of "infighting" in the women's wing and the "poor image" of the labour wing.
Parulekar had contested the Mumbai South-Central constituency where she bagged over 100,000 votes, though she lost to the Congress veteran Eknath Gaekwad.
The MNS had contested 12 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state and was leading in 20 of 72 assembly segments, bagging over two million votes.
Before Parulekar's exit, other close aides of Raj Thackeray like Rajan Choughule, Jitendra Jhnavale, Harish Worlikar, Digambar Kandarkar and Ashish Kulkarni also walked out of the MNS, citing similar reasons.