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Shiv Sena turns 52: Uddhav Thackeray’s speech gives no clarity on 2019 poll plan

While Thackeray mocked his ally, Bharatiya Janata Party, he did not spell out his decision on the alliance.

mumbai Updated: Jun 20, 2018 10:46 IST
Ketaki Ghoge
Ketaki Ghoge
Hindustan Times
Shiv Sena,Uddhav Thackeray,Maharashtra politics
While Thackeray mocked his ally, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he did not spell out his decision on the alliance(HT Photo)

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s speech at the rally to mark the 52nd foundation day of the party on Tuesday, a year ahead of the 2019 state and general elections, sounded oft-repeated and clichéd.

While Thackeray mocked his ally, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he did not spell out his decision on the alliance. Aaditya, Thackeray’s son and head of the youth wing of the party, however, spoke of going solo. So instead of clarity over their role or vision for the upcoming elections, the message that the party cadre got was status quo.

The Sena chief said the next chief minister will be from his party, a statement he has been making through the year since January, when he announced the decision to go solo in all upcoming elections. He also congratulated the BJP for ending its alliance with PDP in Kashmir, although terming it belated.

The cadre realised the Sena will not walk out of power any time soon, but will play the role of opposition as and when need be.

The takeaway from Thackeray’s speech was the party will wait-and-watch before announcing its plan. The message to political rivals and allies was not just the BJP, regional parties and opposition, too, want the Sena to join hands with them.

Political observers said that facing a catch-22, Thackeray was indulging in politics of survival. “The speech indicates the Sena will sit in the government until the elections are announced or a few months before the announcement. They will contest the polls independently as a U-turn may be difficult at this stage. A post-election tie-up with BJP is a distinct possibility. There is a dilemma in the party about the future, which showed in the speech,” said Surendra Jondhale, political analyst.

Sena leaders said given the political scenario in the country, the party’s stance was fluid. “In January, we passed a resolution that the party would go solo for elections solo. We can also take the resolution back. The question is whether BJP will give us a clear upper hand and the position of a big brother. We don’t think that is possible,” said a senior Sena leader.

The overall sentiment is the party should take a call depending on the outcome of the next round of state Assembly elections that will be held by the end of the year.

First Published: Jun 20, 2018 10:43 IST