Aditya Thackeray, grandson of Shiv Sena chief, Bal Thackeray, scored his maiden election victory when his Yuva Sena won five seats and is leading in three out of 10 seats in the senate elections at the University of Mumbai.
The results, partly declared on Wednesday, came as an embarrassment to Aditya’s estranged uncle, Raj Thackeray. The remaining results will be declared on Thursday morning.
Aditya, who was recently anointed as the chief of the Yuva Sena, the Sena’s youth wing, led his outfit to victory while Raj’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has won only one seat.
The MNS students’ wing had tied up with Swabhimaan, an outfit supported by Congress minister and former Sena leader, Narayan Rane. “He was not my target,” Aditya said about Raj. “My only aim was to get my candidates elected.” In 2005, when Raj headed the Sena students’ wing, he got only three members elected to the senate. Raj’s appeal to voters failed to click.
Senate members are elected by the graduates of the university and its affiliated colleges and their job is to deliberate on academic issues pertaining to the varsity.
Political experts say organisational skills played the major role in these elections. “It was team work which worked in Aditya’s favour because the Sena put its entire organisation on the job to portray Aditya as a rising star of Maharashtra politics,” said Prakash Bal, a senior political commentator. Sena shakhas across the city enrolled voters and campaigned for party candidates on Sunday with vehicles to ferry voters to the polling booths. The Sena has been working for these elections for months and had enrolled 22,639 voters as compared to 8,000 by the MNS.
The MNS blamed the results on low enrollment. “Things would have been different had we got one more month to enroll,” said Sudhakar Tamboli, vice president of the MNS students’ wing. He said Raj’s appeal among the youth was intact despite this setback.