‘Big moment, leap’: Aaditya on fight from Worli
After months of speculation over his electoral plunge, Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray on Monday announced his candidature for the upcoming Assembly polls from the Worli constituency.
Aaditya, a third-generation politician, is the first person from his family to contest the elections, since the party was founded by his grandfather Bal Thackeray in 1966. He is seen as the modern face of the party, brought in many policies including on nightlife, Valentine’s Day celebration, etc.
While addressing workers in Worli, Aaditya said he was interested in politics since childhood. He said he used to accompany his grandfather to rallies, where he met political leaders. “I will contest the election. It is a big moment for me. I am taking a big leap. I am confident that you [party workers] all are there with me,” the announcement was preceded by a short pause. “Although Worli will be my constituency, the entire state of Maharashtra will be my karmabhoomi. Just like Worli, we will develop Maharashtra and make it world class,” the 29-year-old scion said.
He is expected to file his nomination papers on October 3, senior party functionaries said.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray could not remain present for the announcement, as he was busy with distribution of AB forms to other candidates at their residence, Matoshree. However, Aaditya was joined by his mother Rashmi and younger brother Tejas.
Meanwhile, the Sena is making all the efforts to ensure Thackeray wins in his debut in elections with a huge margin. The party has requested the NCP not to field its candidate from Worli assembly seat.
The request was made when Sena leader Sanjay Raut met NCP supremo Sharad Pawar on Saturday, said a senior NCP leader, requesting not to be named.
Aaditya during his speech indicated that he would not want an opposition-free contest, “It can happen that someone will contest against us. Firstly, let them contest in peace and let us focus on winning.”
The NCP leader said, “The Sena wants a victory margin of around 1 lakh votes. Raut reminded Pawar that Sena didn’t field its candidate against Supriya Sule, Pawar’s daughter and Baramati MP, for Rajya Sabha bypolls in 2006 when she was contesting for the first time.”
However, it seems the NCP may not accept Sena’s request to leave the seat for Thackeray. Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar said they have to ask the alliance partners.
“The NCP will have to discuss the issue with the alliance partners as a few of them have sought that seat. Moreover, Sule was contesting a bypoll and this is a five-year election. Now, circumstances have changed. However, Pawarsaheb also did not field any candidate against Pritam Munde after the death of senior BJP Gopinath Munde in 2014,” he told reporters.
NCP insiders said Ajit is no mood to leave the seat for Thackeray stating that the Sena did not show similar courtesy for his son Parth, when he was contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Maval recently. Parth lost his maiden election against Shiv Sena MP Shrirang Barne with over 2.15 lakh votes.
Thackeray added that he has not entered electoral politics for his “ambition”. “The decision is not for me or my ambition. I am doing this to build a new Maharashtra. I do not run behind my dream, but will work for dreams of others. This is the time to rid Maharashtra of unemployment and remove discrimination on the basis of caste.”
Raut said, “It is true that nobody from Thackeray family has contested the polls. But sometimes rules need to be changed to make history.”
He reiterated that the Sena would get its chief minister in Maharashtra. “Due to some technical glitch, Chandrayaan-2 couldn’t land on the moon, but we will ensure that this son [Aaditya] reaches the sixth floor of Mantralaya (the chief minister’s office) on October 21,” Raut said.