Mumbai: The Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, ignoring suggestions from his ‘close friend’, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to forge an alliance, has given the green signal to his party probables in constituencies currently represented by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Thackeray recently concluded his tour of districts in the Marathwada region. He will embark on a Konkan tour from November 1 and after Diwali, he is likely to take stock of the party organisation when he visits Vidarbha. Party insiders said, during his tour of Marathwada, Thackeray met booth-level agents (BLA), the term identified by the Election Commission of India (ECI), to identify the lacunae in the organisational set-up and about the image of the existing party legislators and Members of Parliament (MPs).
“Thackeray is not in a mood to forge an alliance with the BJP and hence, has instructed sitting MLAs and MPs to prepare for the 2019 polls. Even in constituencies where BJP has a hold and they are representing the constituency in the Lok Sabha and the assembly, Thackeray has finalised candidates and given them the go-ahead,” said the party insider. The source disclosed that during his tour of Beed, Thackeray told Badamrao Pandit to prepare for assembly elections from Ambejogai constituency.
“This is just an example. I do not want to disclose names of our probable candidates in BJP’s constituencies. But, this is enough for the BJP that the Sena is preparing to go solo in the next elections,” said the source. To counter the BJP’s voter-booth strengthening programme, Thackeray too has focused on the same. “In the Sena, the hierarchy is — party president, secretary, leaders, deputy leaders, sampark pramukh, vibhag pramukh, shahar (city) and taluka pramukh, shakha pramukh and then the grassroots.
Thackeray has modified this slightly and appointed coordinators for each region in the state,” said the party insider. There are six coordinators in the organisation. Vishwanath Nerurkar for Marathwada, Arvind Nerkar for Vidarbha, Ravindra Mirlekar for North Maharashtra, Dagdu Sapkal for Western Maharashtra, Shashank Kamat for Raigad and Palghar and Pradip Borkar for Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg in Konkan.
According to Manisha Kayande, Sena spokesperson, these coordinators are directly answerable to the Sena chief ; their ground reports are for Thackeray’s ears only. “Though there are leaders and deputy leaders appointed for various regions, Thackeray believes in these ground reports,” claimed Kayande.