On Monday, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray will turn 86. This birthday is seen as a special one for the octogenarian, whose party faces the Mumbai civic elections a month after his special day. The Sena has been in power in the BMC for the last 17 years, but with his heir Uddhav Thackeray leading from the front for the first time, his estranged nephew Raj Thackeray’s outfit, the MNS becoming stronger and the Congress-NCP joining hands, this election is nothing short of war for the senior Thackeray.
Time and again, Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray reiterated to Sena workers that winning the election would be an ode to the chief who formed the party in 1966. But if they lose the polls, then the Sena will need to do a major re-think about the way the party functions. While Sena members would have loved to see senior Thackeray on his birthday, they will not be able to following his frail health. A video message by the Sena chief will be shown at an official Sena function to be held at the Shanmukhananda hall at Sion on Monday.
“The message will be followed by short speeches by other leaders. This will be followed by a Marathi play, which is the usual format,” said Sena leader Shweta Parulkar. But if sources are to be believed, Thackeray will do some damage control in the message, after the recent fiasco of the almost-defected Thane MP Anand Paranjpe talking against the party in an NCP press meet in the presence of Sharad Pawar.