As the angioplasty on Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray was completed successfully on Friday, the big question doing the rounds was—will the two cousins sit together and end their political rivalry once Uddhav recovers completely?
The mood in both the parties—Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena(MNS)—is that of optimism.
As Uddhav underwent treatment, the entire Thackeray clan kept aside their differences and stood by him. Raj and his family, as well as Smita, the estranged wife of Uddhav’s elder brother Jaidev, stood by Uddhav’s wife Rashmi. Earlier this week, Raj had rushed to the hospital after learning of Uddhav’s chest pain and had driven him back home after the angiography, where he met Bal Thackeray.
While the family sat in one corner of the room on the third floor of Lilavati hospital, bigwigs of the Sena like Sanjay Raut, Anil Desai and Manohar Joshi sat with Raj, who was accompanied by MNS functionaries including legislator Bala Nadgaonkar. Until recently, both the camps would not even see eye to eye.
But after the tumultuous events of this week, things could change. Many in political circles believe that Raj has paved the way for the reunion and now a lot depends on how Uddhav takes things forward and what his father advises. “This could be a long process, and considering that the assembly and Lok Sabha elections are due in 2014, there is no hurry,” said a top Sena leader. “Of course, don’t expect that the competition between the two parties will vanish. It will remain, but without the bitterness,” he added.
Sena MP Sanjay Raut, one of the Sena supremo’s trusted aides, said: “Please do not read much into the situation. They are personal matters between the Thackerays. However, it is true that the bitterness between them has gone down.” The reaction from the MNS camp shows that the bitterness has evaporated.
“Right now there is no need for political talks. We only hope that Uddhavji is back in good health to lead the Shiv Sena,” said MNS legislator Bala Nandgaonkar.