Dussehra rally: Tussle of two Sena heads for Shivaji Park

With an eye on BMC elections, both Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde plan to put up a show of strength

Sanjay Jog Kalpesh MhamunkarUpdated: Friday, September 02, 2022, 11:31 PM IST
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Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde, left, and former CM Uddhav Thackeray | File

Amid the ongoing legal battle between the Uddhav Thackeray’s and Eknath Shinde’s factions for the Shiv Sena party symbol, another face-off is brewing as both the camps have filed for an application with the BMC for holding the customary Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park on October 5.

If the BMC turns down the permission, the Shinde camp is exploring other options, including Bandra Kurla Complex, Somaiya ground and NESCO exhibition centre.

Started by late Balasaheb Thackeray, the rally has been an annual feature for the Shiv Sena. The first rally was held in 1966 and was addressed by the founding leader whose fiery speeches have since come to signify the event. It is attended by party workers from across the state. Possibly the most important calendar event for the Sena, it now has two claimants after the vertical split in the party.

Meanwhile, the BMC has confirmed that it has received applications from both the camps. However, an official confirmed that no decision has been taken on either. Assistant municipal commissioner of G-North ward, Prashant Sapkale told the Free Press Journal, that he

received one application on August 22 from Anil Desai and another on August 30 from Sada Sarvankar. He said, “Right now my priority is to conduct the Ganesh festival smoothly. Once it’s over, I will take the decision on the application.”

The MLA from Mahim and also a vibhag pramukh from the constituency, Sada Sarvankar confirmed that Chief Minister Eknath Shinde will definitely address the rally and said, “There is only one Shiv Sena in Maharashtra; one leadership, one ground, one flag and one thought is our slogan for the rally.”

Manisha Kayande, the MLA from Thackeray’s faction, said, “This is an ungrateful act of the Shinde group. Sarvankar used to file the application on Uddhav saheb’s behalf. Now that he has been sacked from the post of vibhag pramukh, he has no right to file the application. One leader, one flag, one thought and one ground was the idea behind the rally since it was started by the late Balasaheb Thackeray. The rally has a big history. What history do these people (Shinde group) have?”

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