Valentine’s Day, this year, was a calmer affair for Mumbai’s lovebirds. Thanks to the Shiv Sena going soft on its otherwise pet peeve, couples could celebrate without the fear of being roughed up or even threatened.
Till a year ago, the Sena was only too happy to play moral police on February 14. So what happened this year?
“It’s not a question of any change in stance, its just that we have been clear that people should resort to promoting Hindu culture and festivals. We do not want to react to the others,” said Shiv Sena general secretary Anil Desai.
But political experts insist the Sena just cannot afford to unleash its fury anymore.
“There are two aspects to this — first with new entrant Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray, who is being portrayed as Sena’s gen-next leader, one cannot take a negative stand on youth. Also, there is a great fear of losing young voters with civic poll just a year away,” said Surendra Jondhale, head of political science department, Mumbai university.
The young Thackeray, a student of the up-market St Xavier’s College, is a representative of the youth.
When Sena used to fight V-Day, the country was in the stage of transition, Jondhale adds. “But now globalisation has been established and the issue no longer clicks with the youth which carries a major vote share,” he said.