Maharashtra Assembly polls: Aaditya Thackeray’s nomination, a paradigm shift for Shiv Sena

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When Shiv Sena leader and Yuva Sena Aaditya Thackeray filed his nomination from the Worli constituency, becoming the first Thackeray to join electoral politics, it marked a paradigm shift in the politics of the Sena and its first family.

For one, the development marks the end of the diarchy of power between the party and its government. Earlier, even late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray had stayed away from being part of the Shiv Sena-BJP government between 1995-1999, when Manohar Joshi and later, Narayan Rane led the dispensation. In 2014, Uddhav’s estranged cousin and MNS chief Raj Thackeray had announced he would fight the assembly polls, but backed out later.

Aaditya’s presence in the fray also brings the Sena legislature party under the direct control of the Thackerays’, sends across a stern message about him being the Shiv Sena’s chief ministerial or deputy chief ministerial nominee and nips the aspirations of other leaders for the post.

“All political families in India have participated in electoral politics, except the Thackerays. Hence, Aaditya’s decision was long overdue. This also marks the shift in the power centre to Aaditya, and prevent other leaders from the Shiv Sena growing a stature that rivals that of the party’s first family. This will prevent rebellions like those of Chhagan Bhujbal and Narayan Rane,” said a senior Shiv Sena leader. Aaditya’s decision to fight the elections will also invigorate the party organisation and candidates contesting the polls.

“The supreme leader of the Shiv Sena must get experience of legislative work. There is a perception that the Sena’s legislators have not been very effective in the house. Aaditya’s presence will keep them on their toes. The legislative party will also be in the direct control of the Thackeray family,” explained a Sena strategist. He added that Aaditya would get an opportunity to take the Shiv Sena’s priority and agendas beyond its traditional identity politics, which has a resonance in the greater Mumbai region, by covering issues like problems of tribals and agrarian distress.