As 2005 repeats, it’s Aaditya Thackeray’s time to rise and shine

Updated on Jun 30, 2022 09:59 AM IST

The 32-year-old, who is the first from the Thackeray family to run for public office, will also have to hold on to the Shiv Sena’s core voter — a nativist, son-of-the-soil party cadre and support base

He explained that Aaditya had an opportunity to build the organisation from ground-up. (Vijay Bate)
He explained that Aaditya had an opportunity to build the organisation from ground-up. (Vijay Bate)

Mumbai: On June 21, the Shiv Sena split in the middle and despite his best efforts, its president Uddhav Thackeray has failed to keep the flock together. However, even as the future of the party has been called into question — with the support of 39 MLAs, Eknath Shinde-led rebel faction has staked claim to the party — this could well turn out to be Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray’s turn to shine, as he is being called to prove his leadership much like his father did after the revolts by Narayan Rane and Raj Thackeray in 2005.

Despite the party’s depleted bench strength in the assembly, Aaditya, a legislator from Worli, will have the opportunity to show that he can be an aggressive yet responsible opposition figure. He also has the responsibility of leading the party in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections due this year.

The 32-year-old, who is the first from the Thackeray family to run for public office, will also have to hold on to the Shiv Sena’s core voter — a nativist, son-of-the-soil party cadre and support base — even as he develops the cosmopolitan, non-Marathi voter base.

“In hindsight, one can say that it was mistake for both Uddhav and Aaditya to be part of the government. The Shiv Sena’s strength is the party organization… it needed an organizer, but got a chief minister and a minister instead. Aaditya should have been drafted into a larger role in the party instead to develop his organizational skills,” a former legislator of Shiv Sena who wished to remain anonymous, said.

He explained that Aaditya had an opportunity to build the organisation from ground-up.

“Aaditya can work among exploited yet ignored sections like the farm workers, marginal farmers and unorganized sector workers. But the question is, are they willing to work hard and for a sustained period of time? First and foremost, the Shiv Sena is an organization and its workers are synonymous with struggle. They are the biggest assets for the party, but they want a leader and ecosystem that can support and complement their work,” the former MLA added.

Any attempt by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has the image of being a party dominated by the non-Maharashtrians and mercantile interests, to jeopardise the Shiv Sena’s existence is likely to galvanise its supporters behind the Sena. The Marathi manoos, who is the mainstay of the Shiv Sena’s politics, fears being marginalised further in Mumbai and sees the party as its alter ego. However, Shiv Sena insiders say that with the revolt in the ranks indicating the distance and disconnect between the Thackerays and the rank-and-file, Aaditya will have to reorient his politics to a more rooted idiom.

The Thackerays have been charged with being inaccessible, hands-off and surrounded by a coterie that prevents the common worker from accessing them. Aaditya faces the challenge of moving beyond his immediate circle to strike a dialogue with the common Shiv Sainik, like his grandfather, late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, who was reputed to have his ears to the ground, and knew several of his workers by name or face.

“Aaditya must transcend the culture of darbari politics that has set into the Shiv Sena,” the former MLA quoted above said. He noted that the disconnect could be seen in how the leadership did not have an inkling that an operation of this scale was being launched.

Another veteran Shiv Sainik from Mumbai noted that the party being ousted by the government would help mobilise the cadre and its core voters. Aaditya has age on his side and experience of being part of the state administration, and would bring this to the table in the party, he explained.

The urbane Aaditya, who has a keen interest in international affairs, especially in British politics, must focus on nurturing the Shiv Sena’s roots, party insiders said.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Mithali Raj (in pic) made her international debut in 1999 against Ireland, along with Reshma Gandhi. Both hit a century on debut. (Getty Images)

    Global Village Idiot: Glory, performance, retirement, inspiration, glory

    June was a sad month for me because one of India's all-time great cricketers, Mithali Raj, retired from all forms of international cricket. In 1984, I was at an all-time low as a high school athlete. I was in Delhi at the time, and classmates dragged me to an international film festival where I watched “Chariots of Fire”, based on the life of British athletes Eric Lidell and Harold Abrahams.

  • Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai on Friday said difference of opinion should not be countered with physical action, after Siddaramaiah warned that BJP workers will be "taught a lesson" once Congress comes back to power. (ANI)

    Bommai: Siddaramaiah has to learn responsibility of being Leader of Opposition

    Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai and leader of opposition Siddaramaiah engaged in a back and forth on social media after recent controversies surrounding the row over posters of Savarkar and Tipu Sultan in Shivamogga district. We also know how to end it. If our workers are on the streets like Siddaramaiah, it may be difficult for you to even leave your home. "Savarkar was imprisoned for 27 years, Nehru spent nine in jail," Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha declared.

  • The place in Tukutoli where the alleged crime was committed. (HT Photo)

    Jharkhand: 19 women in this tribal village are in jail for ‘witchcraft killings’

    A tribal hamlet of around two dozen households, Tukutoli, located on the margins of Karondajor village panchayat in Gumla district, resembles any other tribal settlement in the remote corners of Jharkhand. Reason: 19 women from Tukutoli are currently in jail. On August 4, these women — 30 to 70-year-olds — were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for beating two women from the same neighbourhood to death for allegedly practicing witchcraft.

  • The internet was furious on finding controversial paintings of Lord Krishna on Krishna Janmashtami.

    Why Bengaluru-based painting seller is under fire on social media on Janmashtami

    A Bengaluru-based organisation - that makes paintings among other stuff - has come under fire on social media. Amid Janmashtami celebrations across the country, the seller has been accused of obscenity for a painting showing the Hindu god. Inkologie sells its products on Amazon, which include mugs, cards and other collectibles. It sells paintings and posters too. Many also shared screenshots of their conversations with Amazon customer care, asking for the paintings to be removed.

  • Praveen Nettaru, BJP's Yuva Morcha worker, was killed by unidentified people on a bike in Bellare. (Image credit: @cogitoiam/Twitter)

    NIA gets custody of 5 key accused in Praveen Nettar murder case

    The National Investigating Agency which is investigating the July 26 murder of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha leader Praveen Nettar has obtained the custody of five key accused in the case for six days. The accused taken into custody are Naufal (28), Sainul Abid (22), Mohammed Syed (32), Abdul Basheer (29) and Riyaz (27). Bellare police in Sullia had registered a case under prevention of unlawful activities act in connection with the murder.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, August 19, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now