The Shiv Sena is really pulling out all the stops.
In a bid to woo the young voter ahead of the October 13 state election, the saffron party has roped in Uddhav Thackeray’s 19-year-old son Aditya.
The St Xavier’s student, who has been a fixture at every party event this year and is even giving television interviews on behalf of the Sena, is now scheduled to campaign for candidates and spearhead a special youth rath (tour) for the saffron combine.
On Tuesday, Aditya kicked off the youth campaign during the first election meet for Thane candidate Pratap Sarnaik (42).
Speaking at the meet, Sarnaik even compared Aditya to Rahul Gandhi, the Congress party’s posterboy for the youth.
“Like the Gandhi family has Rahul, we have young Aditya,” Sarnaik said. “I got my campaign inaugurated by Aditya as he is the party’s young face and he will attract a young crowd.”
Thane is a Sena bastion and will be even more significant this time around, since it will elect 24 members to the state Assembly post-delimitation.
The number of seats in Thane rose by 13 after constituency lines were redrawn on the basis of the latest (2001) census.
Aditya, for his part, spoke quite confidently, discussing his own “priorities” — education, health and tourism.
“I will definitely campaign for the elections,” he said, looking the very picture of urban youth in a blue T-shirt and jeans. “I will do so as a student and talk about the election with my classmates, because I believe that the Sena-BJP government can bring in the changes our state needs.”
Asked about the verbal duel between his father Uddhav and uncle Raj Thackeray, founder and chief of rival Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Aditya declined comment, saying he “did not want to divert his focus” from the election.