Reports of Shiv Sena (UBT) Youth Wing activist and close aide of former minister Aaditya Thackeray, Rahul Kanal, joining Shinde faction has surfaced online. BJP leader Nitesh Rane's tweet indicating a change has added fuel to the fire.
While nothing is confirmed yet but looking at past instances of once close aides of Thackerays ditching them for Shinde, the possibility of Kanal's exit cannot be ruled out.
However, this incident does spark curiousity about who is Rahul Kanal and why his leaving could be blow for Aaditya Thackeray.
Who is Rahul Kanal?
Rahul Narain Kanal, born in Bandra, has been associated with the Thackeray scion for many years now. He began his political career with then undivided Shiv Sena as a youth wing worker. He was the first District President of the Yuva Sena (Shiv Sena's youth wing) and has risen through the ranks and become a committee member of the youth wing and Aaditya's associate.
Kanal also owns a restaurant named Bhaijaanz in Bandra which has been named after Salman Khan. Rahul is also known in and around Bandra for his social work. He also volunteered to distribute essential supply kits with Khan on Eid during the pandemic.
Controversies Rahul Kanal is embroiled in
However, he has also been embroiled in controversies. The Income Tax Department conducted raid at properties related to him in March, 2022. The raid was executed after he was accused of hawala transactions by Shiv Sena leader Yashwant Jadhav.
He also filed a defamation suit against BJP's Nitesh Rane due to a tweet in which he had commented about the I-T searches on his premises and also implicitly claimed he was connected to celebrity manager Disha Salian's suicide and late actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death.