With just three months to go for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray hit the ground running for his party, with visits to Sena shakhas, or local administrative units, to see what work was being done at the ground level.
Thackeray went to six Sena shakhas — Ambavadi, Chunabhatti, Gaothan and Kandarpada in Dahisar and two in Borivli. He spoke to workers, shakha pramukhs and assisants and Sena volunteers.
Sources said Uddhva began with Dahisar as the party is most likely to increase its tally here — not only are Sena corporators in a majority here, but there was also a rise in the number of seats in these wards after the recent delimitation exercise.
The Sena has headed the BMC for 20 years with BJP and draws most of its muscle from the country’s richest civic body. With the BJP making clear its ambitions of expanding in Mumbai, the Sena wants to ensure it retains control, sources said.
“Uddhav saheb sat in every shakha for eight to ten minutes and interacted with all office-bearers to understand what the pulse of the people is, which area’s voters’ lists are they handling, how corporators are working and how wards have been redrawn this time. He asked party workers if they felt confident enough of winning seats if the Sena fought the polls without the BJP,” Abhishek Ghosalkar, a Sena corporate from Dahisar, told HT.
Ghosalkar said Uddhav Thackeray visited the shakhas not like the chief of a party would. He only told the shakha a few hours in advance and made an entry in the visitors’ registration, Ghosalkar said.
This is not the first time the Sena chief has uses this tactic. In the run up to the 2012 civic polls, Thackeray cemented his relationship with the party cadre this way, often going to shakhas unannounced, reminiscent of his father and former Sena supremo Bal Thackeray’s style.
During his annual Dussehra rally on October 11 this year, Thackeray announced he will visit all 227 shakhas of the party in Mumbai to interact with those working at the grassroots.