Shiv Sena mulls fielding Aaditya Thackeray from rural Maharashtra
Photo by BL SONI

Mumbai: To change the urban face of the Shiv Sena, especially the Thackeray family, the saffron outfit is seriously mulling over fielding Aaditya Thackeray from a rural part of Maharashtra. Saffron leaders believe the move may help them strengthen the outfit in the rural Maharashtra.

For the first time, a member of the Thackeray family is planning to jump into the political battlefield of direct election. Till now, the Thackeray family had opted to keep the remote control on the elected representatives.

But, Aaditya Thackeray has hinted that he is eager to break the tradition and contest the poll like other political families — Gandhi and Pawar.

He is keen to contest from Worli, where he has already managed to weaken the opposition by poaching Sachin Ahir from the Nationalist Congress Party.

But, Prashant Kishor, the the Shiv Sena-appointed political strategist, has strongly suggested to field Aaditya from rural Maharashtra. He want to change the urban face of Sena and especially of the Thackeray family.

The current cabinet ministers from the Sena quota are largely from Mumbai. The Sena has always been targetted as a party of Mumbaikars only. Prashant Kishor wants to change this narrative.

“Keeping in mind the growing urbanisation and grwing trend of middle class voting for BJP in urban areas, Shiv Sena needs to strengthen its rural base.

The move will help us send a strong signal across that Sena is not only a urban or metro party, but it also has a strong presence in rural parts,” a leader involved in campaigning said.

Choice may be Vidarbha?

The Sena is seriously planning to field Aaditya from the Darwha (Digras) constituency in Yavatmal. This constituency is a bastion of Shiv Sena. Currently, Sena leader Sanjay Rathod, who is also a minister of state for revenue department, is the legislator from this constituency.

Aware of the Prashant Kishor’s suggestion, Rathod himself has requested Aaditya to contest from Darwha. Rathod made this request when Jan-Aashirwad Yatra, led by Aaditya, was in Yavatmal. The Banjara community to which Rathod belongs, is in majority.

The Yavatmal-Washim Lok Sabha, which includes Darwha, also elected Shiv Sena leader Bhavana Gawali for the fourth time. It will also help in countering the feeling of alienation among the Vidarbha people with Shiv Sena. In the long run, it will also help in countering the demand of a separate Vidarbha state.

Uddhav to take a call, Aaditya not interested

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will take a final call on the issue. Aaditya himself is not much inclined to contest from the rural part of Maharashtra.

“If Aaditya gets elected from Darwha, he will have to visit the constituency frequently. It may also affect his focus on Mumbai-Thane, the forte of Sena. It will be better that he should stay in Mumbai.

And as the BMC is ruled by Shiv Sena, the Mumbai-based constituency of Aaditya will be taken care of by the corporators and other legislators,” one of the youth workers closely associated with Aaditya Thackeray said.

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