A moment of pride for Mumbai’s Marathi heartland as Uddhav set to be CM
As the Shiv Sena prepares for a grand oath-taking ceremony at Shivaji Park on Thursday, Mumbai’s Marathi heartland, which has stood by the party for decades, is abuzz with excitement. For a majority of the citizens in the Parel-Lalbaug-Dadar belt, this is a time for celebrations as not only has the Sena managed to unseat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but a member of the Thackeray family is set to head the state.
“We are proud of Uddhav [Thackeray] as he has finally fulfilled the promise made to Balasaheb [Uddhav’s father],” said 62-year-old Mandir Goad, a well-known social activist, who resides in Parel. He said he was happy that the BJP had been relegated to the Opposition benches. “It was Balasaheb who gave the BJP a foothold in the state, and the previous BJP leaders, like Advani, knew and respected it. However, the current lot leaves no occasion to embarrass the Sena, and it was a wise decision to snap ties with them,” Goad said.
The Parel-Lalbaug-Dadar belt, where the famous textile mills once stood, has had a special significance for the Sena. It was in Dadar where the Sena was formed. It was in Parel from where the Sena sent its first ever legislator—Wamanrao Mahadik — to the Maharashtra Assembly.
The elevation of Sena chief Thackeray has been welcomed by the residents as his father and party founder, Bal Thackeray, is highly respected in this belt. “It is good that Uddhav is taking over as the chief minister as he is acceptable to all Sena workers,” said Mahesh Halwai, a resident of Lalbaug.
Meanwhile, at Shivaji Park, Sena workers are busy with their preparations for Thursday’s grand ceremony. Some of them recall the 1995 oath-taking ceremony, when Manohar Joshi became the first Sena chief minister, in the presence of Bal Thackeray. “I am lucky to witness this memorable moment after 24 years and we really miss Balasaheb,” said Purshottam Barde, a native of Solapur.