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Uddhav Thackeray-Satya Pal Singh-fnbworld

It appears Uddhav Thackeray is hell-bent on driving the collapse of Shiv Sena which his father Bal Thackeray had so assiduously built, taking advantage of every opportunity that came his way since the party's formation in 1966. Since that time onward, cartoonist-turned politician Thackeray graciously aligned even with the political behemoths he acrimoniously hated, for he had sufficient wisdom, an outstanding grasping and analyzing ability, command over language and the potential to incisively catch the nuances of every political discourse. He commanded all these attributes which reflected in his cartoons that presented contemporary political scenario, even though he had no formal education. Though a staunch Congress opponent, he took sides to make the best of Congress offers that came on the platter and went on consolidating the position of his party. 

Balasaheb Thackeray-fnbworld

But son Uddhav Thacheray, at the head of present-day Shiv Sena, lacks those guts and calibre of his father. And above those personal infirmities, an overpowering inner sense of one-upmanship that has kept troubling him, has profoundly diminished his power of perception. He neither is a good orator, nor a good manager of his party, nor a persuasive settler of occasional crises that Sena faces. So, when it comes to forming concepts, engaging in problem-solving, reasoning and making decisions, this Thackeray is left much behind his iconic father who ruled Mumbai for 30 years.


Bal Thackeray emerged a true, dynamic leader when he tactfully handled an early revolt in Shiv Sena right in 1967. As an effective, strong leader, Thackeray campaigned for his Hindutva ideology and 'Marathi Manas' first through his magazine, 'Marmik' and subsequently through Marathi daily 'Saamana'. When Shiv Sena, BJP ruled Maharashtra in late nineties, he virtually held the govt's remote control in his hand. He hardly liked Indira Gandhi, but supported the Emergency for the discipline it brought to the society. He won her admiration, despite being her detractor.

But in sharp contrast to his father’s dynamism, Uddhav remains a tough nut and chooses to be a loser. He is not willing to accept the voice or reason. It is said even if there is perceptibly an unmanageable political impasse, someone has to come from nowhere to break it. Mumbai has had a harrowing time for a week now after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation poll threw up a fractured mandate with neither Shiv Sena nor BJP getting enough corporators to elect a Mayor of their own. In the midst of the persisting impasse, RSS ideologue M G Vaidya has given out an ideal solution to “let BJP and RSS Mayors rule for 2.5 years each...Sena, being the single largest party in the BMC, should get the Mayor's post first”. Fair enough for both the top-scoring parties and an ideal proposal to break the deadlock. But high-flying Uddhav, strangely, is not impressed

Uddhav is not realizing that his party's too sectarian policies have suffered serious setback in these civic elections. In a closely contested BMC election, Sena could win just 84 seats, 30 less than the absolute majority mark, indeed a shocking scenario for his ambitions. On the other hand, BJP sibilantly wrested 82 seats, running past its 2012 tally of 31, all at the cost of Congress, MNS, and NCP. The Congress, which ruled Maharashtra for 15 long years till 2014 in alliance with NCP, took the worst drubbing having been reduced to a measely 31 seats, down from 52 in 2012. BJP has convincingly demonstrated to Uddhav that it is a force to reckon with and, as of now, Sena doesn't have much weight and meaning in Maharashtra without alliance with this traditional partner. That becomes especially imperative, given the fact that the Congress has roundly rejected the Sena request for a tie-up in getting back to administering the affairs of BMC and having a Sena Mayor.

All the name-calling Uddhav pointlessly indulged in against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, CM Devendra Fadnavis and other BJP leaders in recent time, despite having politically correct alliance with BJP at the Centre and in the state, came shooting from his troubled state of mind, with focus exclusively on dreamy supremacy and adequate leeway for self-aggrandizement. Sena might have originally emerged as far-right, pro-Marathi regional party from a movement in Mumbai that demanded preferential treatment for Maharashtrians over migrants to the city and later added Hindu nationalism to its ideology, but can a political outfit grow on such narrow floorboards these days when the Indian society has gone progressively multi-racial, broadening the areas of its aspirations and the nations of the world have turned increasingly global? Now, the time has come for Uddhav to do some rethinking on his party’s ideology.

Then the question remains : If Thackeray is finally adamant on having no truck with BJP, what will he do? Will he then try to cobble up with the ramshackle groups he can't manage himself with, even in dreams? Only 5 Independents can come to his fold. NCP with 9, MNS with 7, SP with 6 are distant furrowers policy-wise. Not only this, if all of them do the improbable by extending support for a Sena Mayor with myriad individual preconditions for backing, all with the idea to keep BJP away from power in the country's richest civic body, will Thackeray's Sena be able to live with their elephantine demands?

Imbroglio also stems from the fact that both Sena and BJP want to see their own corporators occupy the Mayor's chair. But neither of them has enough numbers to reach the magic figure of 114 for simple majority. As the situation stands, both need a party like Congress to help them. However, Congress keeps feigning that it wants to stay away from the "dirt". Some sixth sense tells me, a much demoralized and power-hungry Congress will ultimately join hands with Sena, because it would not like BJP to gain power in BMC and boss over the Sena Mayor. It must be clear here that, ideologies apart, the main foe of the Congress is monolithic BJP and not the Mumbai Tiger. And considering that Sena and Congress have joined hands in the past, nobody would really be surprised if the two come together to rule the civic body. 

But in joining hands with Congress, Uddhav will have to do all the listening, perhaps more than he will have to do in routine alliance with BJP. He must know that fast-expanding BJP, by all accounts the only real national party today, is now in a position to play with the receding Sena clout in this commercial capital. Multi-cultural Mumbai will no longer put up with Thackeray's overbearing attitude, his idiosyncrasies and the Sena fans' no-holds-barred frenzy of sectarian dancing on the streets of Mumbai. I am fully convinced that Sena will stay relevant in Mumbai only if it wades through the city's waters in the company of BJP. Non-saffron, so-called liberal and Left parties will only find ground to dump it as best and fast as they can. It's future, therefore, lies only with BJP, Uddhav may like it or not. He must, therefore, accept the proposal to share the Mayoral position with BJP, ideally in its own interest!


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