NEW DELHI: In June 1966, Bal Thackeray at Shivaji Stadium aroused the Maharashtrian pride and founded the Shiv Sena.
Fifty-three years on, the Sena founder’s legacy was shunned when his son Uddhav Thackeray aligned with the Congress and the NCP.
That Bal Thackeray’s legacy was set aside is beyond doubt, according to political commentators and observers who watch politics in Maharashtra.
“The legacy has started to fall and this was evident in Aaditya Thackeray’s campaign. While Thackeray senior was against outsiders settling in Maharashtra, Aaditya ended up going to places and speaking in Telugu and other languages,” a political expert in Mumbai said.
Another aspect that caught the eye of experts was the Sena suddenly putting its pro-Hindutva agenda on the backburner.
“Though the party was critical of the BJP right from the start, they were always in an alliance. Now, by shunning the BJP and Hindutva and more audaciously joining hands with the Congress, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party has reinvented its ideology completely,” the expert said.
Political analyst Nilanjan Mukhopadhay feels that by throwing Bal Thackeray’s ‘Marathi Manoos’ slogan and Hindutva out of the window, the Sena has reached rock bottom.
“Now that the Sena has embraced a reinvented ideology, it remains to be seen if they can sustain it and convince r core voters to be with them. Right now, it stares at a very bleak political future. In failing to sustain the renewed stance, the party risks a complete wipe out.” Even some partymen are not very happy with Uddhav’s decision to ditch his father’s legacy.
“We are a part of Sena because we respect Bal Thackeray. Even Devendra Fadnavis and other BJP leaders do not say a word against him. Now with his legacy being targeted, we feel bad but we will not leave our beloved leader’s party in any circumstance,” a party leader said.