The big question that would haunt the Shiv Sena leadership is the fate of the party after Bal Thackeray. Would son Uddhav, Thackeray’s chosen political heir manage to keep the flock together? The task appears challenging for Uddhav, now that the emotional bonding that party leaders and office bearers shared with Bal Thackeray, would gradually wane with time.
To figure out what would happen to the Shiv Sena after Thackeray, one has to walk down memory lane and see in the past what happened after Uddhav was at the helm of affairs of the party.
In 2004, when Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray officially handed over the reins of the party to his son Uddhav Thackeray, there were a lot of murmurs in the party that the Sena patriarch had ignored nephew Raj Thackeray, who was considered his political heir.
Nursing the humiliation quietly, Raj bide his time in the party for the next two years chalking out the strategy for his future. Raj finally quit the party in 2006, and subsequently launched Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). Several of those in Shiv Sena who felt Raj was the heir apparent of Bal Thackeray quit to join him in the new party. Besides idolising Raj, those who joined him were also the disgruntled elements in the party.