While politics in Maharashtra and at the Centre is in a state of flux, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray is likely to start groundwork for his party’s campaign for the upcoming polls with a tour of the state.
In an interaction with DNA, Uddhav, who is recovering after undergoing an angioplasty in July, said he was likely to begin the state-wide tour after Dussehra. “The tour will cover Vidarbha, Marathwada, Konkan, north and west Maharashtra,” said Uddhav, adding that it would focus on issues like Hindutva and the recent scams and irregularities.
Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray addresses party cadre at the Dusshera rally held at Shivaji Park grounds in Dadar every year, where the Shiv Sena was born in July 1966. The Shiv Sena presently has 11 MPs in the Lok Sabha and 46 MLAs including one independent elected with the Sena’s support. In addition, Sena rebel, Pradeep Jaiswal from Aurangabad, has also cast his lot with the party.
“The schedule of the tour depends on his health,” said a Sena MP, pointing out that this would be Uddhav’s first major tour of the state after his surgery. The tour will help galvanise party cadre and voters and kick off the Shiv Sena’s campaign for the Lok Sabha and state assembly elections to be held in 2014, the MP said.
A Shiv Sena activist pointed out that the party lacked strong second rung leadership. Uddhav is the only crowd puller after his father and party chief, Bal Thackeray. Uddhav’s son, Aditya, who heads the Yuva Sena, is also being projected by the party.
“The party must create and nourish grass root leaders especially in the rural areas to build its base there,” he said and added that the political scene in Maharashtra’s hinterlands is dominated by the ruling NCP and the Congress.