Without father and BJP, Uddhav faces acid test | india | Hindustan Times
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Without father and BJP, Uddhav faces acid test

With both alliances breaking and the state heading towards a multi-cornered contest, the man in focus is Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

india Updated: Sep 27, 2014 00:59 IST
Sayli Udas Mankikar

With both alliances breaking and the state heading towards a multi-cornered contest, the man in focus is Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

The 53-year-old, who was written off by critics for being mild and unfit to head an aggressive organisation like the Sena, has changed the political map of the state.

His firm stance on not conceding any seats below 151, not playing second fiddle to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and ambition to become the chief minister ultimately led to the split between the 25-year-old alliance.

This had a domino effect on the Congress-NCP alliance.

This is also the first state election Uddhav will head after his father’s death.

Sena leaders and political experts are now wondering whether this move will be the best thing for Uddhav or the biggest gamble of his life.
Many party members are drawing parallels between him and his father, late Bal Thackeray. “Uddhavji’s recent address to the Sainiks has infused a lot of enthusiasm in them and the decision to go solo has brought back memories of Balasaheb, who was known to take stand by his tough decisions. The Sena chief has shown that he can be sophisticated and tough at the same time,” said legislator Ravindra Waikar.

Uddhav will now face the real challenge — winning at least 145 of the 288 seats, if he wants absolute majority. Otherwise, he needs to be the party with the highest number of seats to bargain for the chief minister’s post.

“This election is the biggest gamble that Uddhav has taken up. His strong party roots and confidence might help him sail through,” said political commentator Surendra Jondhale.

But the road ahead is not easy. Uddhav is facing two major challenges: he will no longer get the BJP votes and those from smaller allies, and cousin Raj Thackeray’s charisma and ability to turn votes cannot be completely written off.
Uddhav will address his party workers on Saturday at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse. Sena workers are waiting to see what path their chief will lay down for them.