Shiv Sena has won the Mumbai crown for the fourth consecutive time. The reasons are clear: chief Bal Thackeray’s charismatic speeches, executive president Uddhav’s planning, and the backroom team’s hard work.
This team comprised Uddhav’s wife Rashmi Thackeray, popularly known as Vahinisaheb among the Sena cadre; Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut; Sanjay Suri, ad campaigner; Anil Desai, administrator; and Marathi actor Adesh Bandekar.
Each backstage member has a defined role. The touted fight was between charismatic Raj Thackeray and his rhetoric speeches against sober strategist Uddhav Thackeray. Uddhav won the polls and increased the Sena presence in posh South Mumbai and the western suburb.
Rashmi Thackeray played a massive part with respect to the 50% women reservation seats in the corporation. “Rashmivahini was like a sister to the women brigade. It gave them confidence. She converted the Sena cadre into a family,” said a Sena insider.
The main architect of the ‘We Did It’ campaign was Sanjay Suri, who managed to strike an emotional chord with the voters. “The ad clicked with people. It was good that many rival party leaders, including chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and NCP leader RR Patil, criticised it. We worked on this ad for almost a year,” said Suri, who studied with Uddhav Thackeray in JJ School of Arts.
Sena spokesperson, Sanjay Raut, selected the content for advertisements and slots for Uddhav’s interviews. Anil Desai, general secretary of Shiv Sena, looked after administrative work such as arranging rallies and roadshows, and keeping tabs on each locality. Desai has been working in the Sena since 1990.
Adesh Bandekar, actor and Sena leader popular among Maharashtrian women, said, “My popularity helped me to connect with the people and involve them in party work. I attended all rallies and road shows,” he said.