The Shiv Sena, which faced electoral debacles in the last one year, is trying to win majority of seats in the senate elections of the University of Mumbai to be held in November.
Currently, the senate is dominated by members owing allegiance to the Congress.
The senate plays a vital role in deciding issues of academic importance in the University of Mumbai and its affiliated colleges.
The Bhartiya Vidyarthi Sena (BVS), the student wing of the Sena, which has just three members in the current Senate of 10 members, is trying to gain majority.
It has enrolled a majority of 22,639 voters of the total strength of 52,000. Those enrolled voters are supposed to be graduates from the university and the Sena has been aggressively pursuing them.
Leading the campaign is Aditya Thackeray, grandson of Sena chief Bal Thackeray, who is also tipped to head the Yuva Sena, which would shortly be launched by the party.
“We are confident of winning and we will focus on issues the students face,” Aditya told Hindustan Times.
Giving that Aditya is playing a major role, the well-oiled Sena shakhas will now play an active role in roping the voters to the polling booths.
The BVS, which was lorded by Raj Thackeray till his exit from the party, also plans to launch a manifesto and an awareness drive to stress the importance of the senate among the students community.
The National Students Union of India (NSUI), the student’s wing of the Congress party, which currently enjoys a majority with five members, is lagging behind the BVS with an enrolment of 14,000 members.
“We have quality voters who cast their ballot unlike others [read BVS] who go by the numbers but never vote in the elections,” said Prashant Patil, current senate member, who is leading the campaign.
Congress bigwigs such as Ahmed Patel, Mukul Wasnik and Gurudas Kamat all cut their political teeth in the NSUI.
In terms of enrolments, both the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad of the BJP and Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sena (MNVS) of the MNS have barely registered 4,500 and 8,000 graduates respectively.
“We could not enroll many members as expected as we faced lot of technical difficulties such as lack of graduate certificates and late issuance of convocation certificates,” said Sudhakar Tamboli, vice-president, MNVS.