Is the Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena (BVS), the Shiv Sena’s students’ wing that had helped Maharashtra Navn-irman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray establish his leadership and build a strong support base, dying a natural death?
Top functionaries of the newly launched Yuva Sena, which will be headed by Aditya Thackeray, in their first core group meeting on Thursday, discussed the possibility of merging the BVS with the new outfit.
Yuva Sena was launched by Sena chief Bal Thackeray during the party’s annual Dussehra rally this year at Shivaji Park last Sunday.
Though Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, on Friday, ruled out the merger, sources in the party said the leadership was in favour of dissolving the outfit so that Yuva Sena can directly establish its link with the young electorate.
The BVS was known for its young army that would hit the roads and were the core strength of many protests that the Sena took up.
“In the past one year, since the Sena lost both the Lok Sabha and the Assembly elections, Uddhav has been talking bitterly about the ‘failure’ of the BVS to attract young voters. So, it’s not surprising that BVS will be sidelined to make way for the Yuva Sena,” said a senior Sena functionary, who did not wish to be named.
The core group of the Yuva Sena has decided that all members of the BVS would start working for the new outfit. All members below the age of 40 years would work with the Yuva Sena, while those above 40 years will work with the Shiv Sena. In effect, the old youth wing will be history.
The decision spread panic among Sainiks in the BVS, creating a sense of confusion about their existence in the party as Aditya has already formed his ‘new core team’ and no BVS member is part of it.
In fact, new Sena entrants like actor Aadesh Bandekar are in the Yuva Sena’s core group.
Uddhav, however, played down the development. “Both organisations are under the wings of the Shiv Sena and both will continue to work as separate wings,” he said.