It’s not the CM seat but the one who wields ‘bow and arrow’ will be the Sena head
- The newly crowned CM of Maharashtra,
Eknath Shinde, called himself, ‘the original Sainik’. Uddhavdoesn’t have to claim to belong to a party that his father founded.
- A Saamna editorial compared Uddhav’s resignation to that of Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1996.
- If a split happens, it would be the second one after Uddhav’s cousin Raj Thackeray split the party in 2006 to form MNS.
- There are three deciding factors that will play a role in whose
Senawill be the actual Shiv Sena.
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On the other side, the newly crowned CM Eknath Shinde, called himself, ‘the original Sainik’. Uddhav however, with his famous last name doesn’t have to claim to belong to a party that his father founded. Yet, citizens are concerned about which faction of Sena is the real Sena?
Who gets the bow and arrow?
If a split happens, it would be the second one after Uddhav’s cousin Raj Thackeray split the party in 2006 to form his own outfit Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). Shinde has the numbers on his side, with 40 MLAs while Uddhav has 16 MLAs on his side.
If the earlier split is a learning experience, it’s not the numbers but the part that has the biggest backing can call itself Shiv Sena.
It all boils down to which party gets the party symbol, the bow and arrow – will maintain perpetuity. While Shinde is yet to challenge Uddhav’s position as the party chief, the latter has one more trick up his sleeve – the Sena mouthpiece, Saamna.
Uddhav compared to Vajpayee
Saamna, the daily newspaper has been taking the voice of Balasaheb Thackeray to the lanes of small towns across Maharashtra for 34 years now. Its editor is Rashmi Thackeray, Uddhav’s wife and the paper has already pontificated the CM’s exit.
The editorial compared his resignation to that of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s in 1996 ahead of a trust vote after BJP emerged as the single largest party but woefully short of seats to form the government. They couldn’t get even one MP to come to their side, and that’s when Vajpayee gave his most memorable speech ever in a career full of poetic discourses.
“Mandi saji hui thi, maal bhi bechne ke liye tayar tha, par humne kharidi nahin ki (A market was created, there were sellers too but we did not buy,” he told the speaker, amidst thumping of members. The editorial quoted it back.
Money, party workers and the split
There is one more deciding factor in the Sena split – the party workers. A few lakhs of young volunteers have been the strength of Sena and they have been lacking the personal touch that they received from Uddhav’s father.
In fact, MLAs too have been complaining about his uppity nature which not only let his son keep three ministries under him, but was not meeting MLAs, and has been tight fisted about distribution of public funds as well.
“MLAs receive funds from the government to spend towards their constituents. A lot of MLAs have been unhappy that Congress gets a larger share of these funds and that has made them weaker in their constituencies,” said a Sena insider who has been working with the party for over ten years.
As less trickled out, party workers too have been feeling slighted in spite of the fact that “their party” rules the CM’s chair.
The Anand Dighe’s disciple
Shinde, on the other hand, has always been a man of the masses – having learnt from the best, his mentor Anand Dighe. The late Sena strongman was so powerful and well known in Thane as he used to hold emperor-style darbars everyday, solving big and small problems alike from troubles with neighbours to hooligans teasing their daughters.
In fact, that’s the introduction scene of the recently-released Marathi movie ‘Dharam Veer’ which is a biopic made on Dighe. After members of a Brahmin society complain in the darbar about the nuisance created by a Thane dance bar closeby, Shinde dashes into a bar, hitting the offenders and bringing them to his knees.
The Sena insider also tells another secret behind Shinde’s power – he is the moneymaker. In fact, he is richer than another Sena member Sanjay Raut, who is currently being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
“The fact that ED never did touch him in spite of how rich he was, shows that he was probably hand in glove with BJP for a long time,” the insider says.
Both Uddhav and Shinde have arsenals — the former has legacy, a newspaper, and now even sympathy. The latter has money, men and the support of a national party — and now he also holds power. It’s left to be seen what people choose to go for — backing a winner or picking the underdog — both popular vote banks in India.
College dropout, auto driver, ‘original Sainik’ — Ekanth Shinde’s rocky ride to CM’s seat
Eknath Shinde says Balasaheb's Sainik has become the chief minister
Uddhav Thackeray: The accidental chief minister
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