Aaditya Thackeray

OPINION: Aaditya Thackeray could be game-changer in Maharashtra politics

In Maharashtra, Legislative Assembly poll held on Monday to elect the 288 members of state Assembly. The results will be announced on Thursday. Shiv Sena may pose fresh challenges for the saffron party (BJP) post Maharashtra poll. The new challenge to the alliance would be over the post of deputy chief minister.

Will the history repeat itself, if BJP-Shiv Sena wins the Assembly election.

In the 90s, as a junior partner, BJP had got this post when Gopinath Munde became deputy to Sena’s Manohar Joshi. Now, Shiv Sena may demand that Aaditya Thackeray – the first from the Thackeray family to contest elections – be given this post. Most likely, Sena will not accept a Thackeray becoming a mere minister in the BJP-led state government.

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Aaditya Thackeray is contesting from the Worli constituency in Mumbai City district. Recently, he was involved in a series of open letters with journalist Rajdeep Sardesai justifying the ink attack by his party on journalist Sudheendra Kulkarni.

If Aaditya Thackeray becomes deputy CM it will have serious implications for the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance as day to day interference from Sena in administrative matters will increase.

To increase its political footprint in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena will leverage this post. It will try to revive its past glory. After the demise of Bal Thackeray and the split in the party (with Raj Thackeray forming the MNS), today Sena is not as strong as it used to be.

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Before the poll, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had announced that Bal Thackeray wanted to see a Shiv Sainik as chief minister and he is going to fulfill his dream one day. In Maharashtra, this is possible only when the party emerges stronger than the BJP.

Both parties are relying on their vote base. From Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Sena has detached a sizable section of Maratha votes and is banking on it. BJP’s nationalism pitch- Article 370, National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Bharat Ratna for Hindutva icon Veer Savarkar- seems mainly aimed at Maratha voters.

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Fragile BJP-Shiv Sena alliance

BJP’s alliance with Shiv Sena has always been on shaky ground.

In 2014, after the Lok Sabha election, the two parties fell apart during the Assembly poll. BJP kept its promise this time and even agreed to give 124 seats (plus two MLC seats to be filled later) to Shiv Sena though in 2014 it had won only 63 seats.

About the author: Anurag Sason is journalist with more than 7 years of experience in mainstream journalism. He has worked in newspaper, news agency, TV and digital media. Presently, he is working as Senior Editor-News in Likee app. He tweets at @AnuragSason

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Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author are personal.

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Feature image courtesy: Aaditya Thackeray/Twitter

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