Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is slated to hold a public rally at Shivaji Park on Dussehra, around 49 years after Bal Thackeray — months after forming the Shiv Sena — organised a public meeting for ‘Maharashtrian resurgence’.
The rally, being held after a gap of two years has special significance – it is the first rally the party will hold after coming to power in the state. While otherwise this would have been a cause for celebration, it has now become a reason to introspect. The rally comes in the backdrop of an ugly spat with long-time ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the past two weeks. The spat has exposed the fault-lines between the two, ones which have come to the fore, especially after the demise of the senior Thackeray.
“One ground, one leader and lakhs of people coming to listen to him for 50 years, the annual Dussehra rallies almost make a record. This year is all the more special because we enter our 50th year. We are happy that the high court has paved the way for our rally at Shivaji Park, a spot which has a special place in our memories,” said old-time Sena leader and cabinet minister Diwakar Raote.
“Uddhavji wants to talk constructive politics and in tune with that the party will spell out its plans and policies, its ideas for development of the state over the next 50 years,” said a Sena leader.
After a no-show last year because of legal hassles, the Sena has once again returned to Shivaji Park for the rally, one that promises to be keenly watched for multiple reasons. The two years have seen Uddhav fight one of the party’s toughest battles so far – going it solo against a buoyant BJP, emerging as the second largest party and putting up a fight to retain the party’s identity, despite the BJP’s boisterousness.