These days, 20-year-old Aditya Thackeray is bonding with his grandfather, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, over his new project.
The duo has been busy finalising the font for ‘Yuva Sena’, the name of the party’s youth wing that Thackeray will launch at the annual Dussehra rally on October 17.
“The Shiv Sena is changing with the times. That’s why my grandfather has given his nod for a youth wing,” Aditya, who will head the Yuva Sena, told Hindustan Times on Friday. “He loved the name.’
Until a few years ago, their fiery Thackeray was against floating a youth outfit, stating that the Sena was already full of young people. Things have changed after nephew Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has emerged as a threat.
The Yuva Sena is an attempt to attract youth to the party. It will also serve as launch pad for the third generation of Thackerays.
‘Yuva Sena is all about ‘hosh’ with ‘josh’ [measured enthusiasm] to make youth socially active and politically aware,” said Aditya, clad in a Spiderman T-shirt and jeans. “This will be a platform to groom the party’s young cadre.”
With the launch a fortnight away, Aditya is busy with last-minute details. “We have meetings every afternoon after I return from college,” said Aditya, who is a student of history at St Xavier’s College. “The structure of the organisation, people to be included, details of the launch are being finalised.”
Aditya said the Yuva Sena will be an umbrella organisation under which the party’s existing student wing, the Bhartiya Vidyarthi Sena (BVS), will function.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray started his political career with the BVS. Aditya, however, denied this is the Sena’s way of getting back at the MNS, which was conceived as a party for the youth. “We are not competing with anyone. I am not even in touch with him [Raj]. But a lot of people from the MNS and other parties have contacted me for membership,” Aditya says. He has rules for working with the Yuva Sena. Do not put up posters on birthdays. Instead, donate that money for a social cause, his rulebook says.
Aditya will release the Yuva Sena’s manifesto at the launch. “Education reforms, employment issues, improving sanitation standards in education institutes and a campaign against the caste-based census are already on agenda,” Aditya says. “Then there will be membership drives, discussions and finally action on these issues.”