At 45, a crisis and opportunity | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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At 45, a crisis and opportunity

The Shiv Sena which enters its 46th year on Sunday, is at a critical juncture – it faces the crucial Mumbai civic elections in early 2012 and is determined to raise the morale of its cadres following a drubbing in the assembly polls in 2009.

mumbai Updated: Jun 19, 2011 00:37 IST
Sayli Udas Mankikar

The Shiv Sena which enters its 46th year on Sunday, is at a critical juncture – it faces the crucial Mumbai civic elections in early 2012 and is determined to raise the morale of its cadres following a drubbing in the assembly polls in 2009. This is the first event of the year and the party is using it to kickstart the election mood for its Sainiks.

Celebrations have been lined up for Sunday and Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray will be addressing the party on the occasion. Party sources said the main attraction, chief Bal Thackeray, would be absent owing to his frail health.

The past year has been an eventful yet a good year for the Sena after a low morale phase among its party workers following the party’s 2009 debacle.

Its recent alliance with the Republican Party of India (RPI) and the entry of the third generation Thackeray – Aditya, with the Yuva Sena, a youth wing of the party – are seen as two major milestones for the party’s comeback.

Besides, the Congress-NCP governments at the Centre and state have suffered serious setbacks due to a series of scams including the Commonwealth, 2G, Lavasa and Adarsh and the party believes the mood of the people is against ruling parties.

“These are two reasons why you will see a major change in the civic elections. Athavale will bring us a few thousand votes in every ward and Aditya has brought back many of the youth who had defected to Raj’s party. These are our achievements in the past year,” said senior Sena leader and MLA Ravindra Waikar.

Foundation Day is one of the three events celebrated by the Shiv Sena every year. The other two being the party chief Bal Thackeray’s birthday on January 23 and the annual Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park.

“We have several events lined up across the city on Sunday but the main event is at Shanmukhananda Hall at King’s Circle, where we will trace 45 years of the Sena through dance, song and drama. But, the attraction will be short pieces of saheb’s (Bal Thackeray) speeches which will be shown through the programme,” said Shiv Sena spokesperson Adesh Bandekar, who is on the organising committee.

The party is also going to publish a CD called ‘Vicharancha Sona’ (Golden ideologies), a compilation of speeches made by the Sena chief over the past four decades.