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Home / Assembly Elections / ‘Alliance with BJP is not a compromise, Sena is like the younger brother but will maintain its identity’: Aaditya Thackeray

‘Alliance with BJP is not a compromise, Sena is like the younger brother but will maintain its identity’: Aaditya Thackeray

Aaditya Thackeray, Shiv Sena’s youth chief, said that Sena has not shifted from its bhoomiputra agenda.

assembly-elections Updated: Oct 14, 2019 04:00 IST
Eeshanpriya MS
Eeshanpriya MS
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Aaditya Thackeray speaks to the media.
Aaditya Thackeray speaks to the media. (ANI)

The grandson of Sena founder Bal Thackeray, Aaditya, 29, has deviated from the family tradition of not contesting an election, and is gearing up to fight from the Worli Assembly constituency in southcentral Mumbai. Aaditya, the chief of the party’s youth wing who has played a key role in the Shiv Sena’s change of stance, talks to Eeshanpriya MS on the upcoming elections. Edited excerpts:

During your initial campaign in Worli, the Shiv Sena was criticised for greeting voters in various languages, including Gujarati and Urdu. Is the Sena now looking beyond Maharashtrian voters?

The Shiv Sena is not moving away from its Marathi voters, or dropping the bhoomiputra (sons-of-the-soil) agenda. Our manifesto, too, speaks about it. The bhoomiputra agenda is now being raised across the country and worldwide, with the states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan talking about it. In fact, (US President Donald) Trump speaks about it in the context of his country, and Brexit is happening in England. Worldwide, the importance of protecting rights and livelihood of local people is being accepted. When the Sena helps people, we don’t ask them what language they speak...

In the current political scenario, how does the Sena plan to maintain its identity? The party accepted fewer seats to be in the alliance and even sacrificed some of its strongholds to the BJP.

The Shiv Sena will maintain its identity. Our identity has been strong for the past five decades. There have been various waves in politics; we have seen ups and downs. We have faced many speculations about whether the Sena will survive a particular election. Each election is a litmus test for our party, and we have come through. This is primarily because people come through with the Shiv Sena, because their trust lies with Shiv Sena. Our seat-sharing figures only prove our commitment to our shared goals, and our loyalty and friendship. It is not a compromise for the Shiv Sena. We are together... The point is we are brothers. We are now the ‘Yuva’, the ‘youth’, the younger brother in the equation. As a party, we have taken a principal stand – we are together (BJP and Shiv Sena) for Maharashtra.

Has the BJP promised the deputy chief ministership for you? What talks have transpired about power sharing?

When the alliance was being declared during the Lok Sabha elections, we spoke about sharing power. I am not running after any post. This is not about chasing a selfish dream, it is about chasing my voters’ dreams...

Why did you decide to contest now? You are the first member of the Thackeray family to enter the electoral process. Do you look at this as a way to strengthen or revive your party’s politics and future?

I am the first Thackeray to contest, but my emotion is the same as any Shiv Sainik contesting elections... I chose this election because I thought this was the right time for me... For me, it took nine years to tour Maharashtra, understand issues, interact with society and have my own perception about politics.

Which problems of Maharashtra are on your priority list?

Maharashtra’s biggest problem is water scarcity in north Maharashtra, Vidarbha, Marathwada, even Palghar, and Satara. Palghar has BMC dams, but in 60 years, the state has done no work for its locals.

The second problem is that loan waivers have not reached farmers. We want to increase farm produce, which will end the agrarian crisis. One of the ways to do this is by promoting community farming... We must take climate change seriously, and work towards mitigating its impact. There has been no rain in parts of the state for nearly six years, and then suddenly there are floods. We need to find a solution.

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