The Shiv Sena has decided to field Aaditya Thackeray, the elder son of party chief Uddhav Thackeray, from the Worli segment in the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections. He will be the first member of the Thackeray family to contest an election.
Shiv Sena’s sitting MLA from Worli Sunil Shinde will vacate his seat for Aaditya, news agency PTI quoted a close aide of the Sena chief as saying.
“Worli is considered one of the safest constituencies for the Shiv Sena, hence Aaditya’s candidature was finalised. Former NCP leader Sachin Ahir had recently joined the Sena, which will make it easy for Thackeray,” he said.
If Aaditya wins the election, he will be the first member of the Thackeray clan to represent the people. Ever since the Shiv Sena was founded in 1966 by his grandfather, late Bal Thackeray, no member of his family had fought any elections or held any constitutional post.
It must be noted that Uddhav’s cousin and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray had announced his intention to contest the assembly elections in 2014, but had later changed his mind.
Aaditya has been repeatedly projected by the Shiv Sena as the chief ministerial face of the saffron coalition even though the BJP has been stressing on having Devendra Fadnavis continue in the top post. Uddhav Thackeray had on Saturday recalled that he had “promised” his late father Bal Thackeray to install a Shiv Sainik (party worker) as the state’s chief minister.
This July, Aaditya had launched a state-wide Jan Ashirwad Yatra to thank the electorate for their support in the last Lok Sabha elections and to seek their support for the upcoming Assembly polls. Meanwhile on Sunday, his father issued A-B form (a mandatory document to confirm the candidature of a person representing the party) to other Shiva Sena leaders.
The names include that of Vijay Shivtare (Saswad in Pune) and Arjun Khotkar (Jalna), said the close aide of the Sena chief. “Most of the sitting MLAs of the party will contest the election this time as well,” PTI quoted him as saying.
It may be recalled that the BJP and the Shiv Sena had contested the 2014 Assembly elections separately after a dispute over sharing of seats. While the BJP had won 122 of the 260 seats it contested, the Shiv Sena bagged 63 of the 282 it fought. Falling short of the simple majority, the BJP had then joined hands with the Shiv Sena to form a coalition government.
(With inputs from agencies)