Hours after Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray filed his nomination papers for the upcoming Maharashtra State Assembly elections on Monday afternoon, he was greeted with a huge wave of supporters with saffron flags (both of BJP and Sena), shouting slogans and even bursting firecrackers outside the office of the returning officer at Lower Parel.
Aaditya is among the first from his family to debut in the political pitch ever since his grandfather (former Sena supremo) Bal Thackeray formed the Shiv Sena in 1966.He was accompanied by his father Uddhav Thackeray, mother Rashmi and sitting MLA Sunil Shinde from the Worli constituency. Aaditya’s nomination included four proposers – Sunil Shinde, Ashish Chemburkar, Sachin Ahir and Kishori Pednekar who signed on the nomination.
Speaking to Free Press Journal, politicians from across party lines claimed that the move by Aaditya to contest elections is a game-changer in the history of the Maharashtra politics.
Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant, said, “We are happy that at least now Aaditya took a decision to contest elections. Now, we hope that he will realise the power of democracy. I don’t want to comment on whether he is winning or losing. However, he has a long away to go. BJP has been always crying foul over the dynasty politics of other parties. However, they should now realise that to contest elections is the right of each and every individual whether he comes from a rich or a poor background.”
Hemant Takle, senior NCP leader and treasurer of the party said, “This is a game changer for the Thackerays. Uddhav, Aaditya and Raj have never contested the elections. This time, I feel that Aaditya wants to contest elections to get a mandate from the people. He wants to get elected democratically. This will inspire youngster to join politics and participate in the election process. Whether he wins or loses the election is not the question here. However, he has shown a different approach to the Sena’s style of functioning.”
Avinash Mahatekar, spokesperson of the Republican Party of India (RPI) and said that Aaditya has taken this decision at a younger age which shows that he has realised that becoming a leader through an electoral mandate is the need of the hour. “Aaditya has taken a stance which is different from the rest of the Thackeray family members. He has got the pulse of the younger generation and they want him to contest elections. Hence, he took a bold step of showing that he is a leader, but with the mandate of the people.”
It will be recalled that hoardings of Aaditya Thackeray which read, ‘How are you, Worli?’ in various languages were installed across the city last week. This was considered as a change from the rather usual style of Sena which supported the cause of the ‘Marathi Manoos’.
Party insiders were even more surprised when Gujarati posters were installed which read, ‘Kem Cho, Worli?’ at a time when opposition has been sarcastic about Sena for bowing before the BJP, which they claim, has been supporting the cause of the ‘Gujarati Manoos’.