The Shiv Sena has decided to bring in young blood from within the Thackeray family to check the exodus of its traditional constituency — the youth — to Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
The party, which suffered its worst defeat in two decades in the Assembly polls last year, will soon launch its youth wing, the Yuva Sena. To be headed by Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aditya (20), the outfit will be the fourth-generation Thackeray’s political launch pad and will have two clear objectives: bringing back Sena supporters who switched over to the MNS and keeping its existing flock from embracing the new Sena.
The MNS won 13 seats in the Assembly elections, and Raj Thackeray’s rallies have attracted Maharashtrian youth in significant numbers.
“Every political party, big or small, has a youth wing. But the Shiv Sena has always lacked it. We have a students’ wing, the Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena (BVS), where only students can enroll. Once you are out of
college, you are no longer its member,” a senior Sena leader who did not wish to be named said.
“The Yuva Sena will be a unit that will draw those in their late twenties and early to mid-thirties,” he added.
Sources said that Aditya, whose collection of poems was published when he was 16, has been working on the concept of the youth wing.
He, however, refused to confirm or deny the development. “I cannot confirm anything at the moment,” he told Hindustan Times.
A few years ago, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, asked why his party did not have a youth wing, had replied that the Sena was “always young,” and such a young party would not require a youth wing.
His nephew has now forced the party’s hand.