'It will be Worli to Varsha': Sena debuts Aaditya Thackeray

Party keeps cadre morale up over Maha CM dream

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Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray has declared that he will contest the state polls from Worli

More than 53 years after Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray launched Shiv Sena on a regional plank, a Thackeray scion will enter the fray of electoral politics. Shiv Sena leader and Bal Thackeray grandson Aaditya Thackeray on Monday announced that he will fight the upcoming assembly elections from the Worli constituency.

Once the scion was anointed to the electoral arena, senior leaders showered praises on the young leader.

"Due to technical glitches, Chandrayaan-2 couldn't land on the moon. However, our Surya yaan (hinting to Aaditya's name, meaning 'sun') will land on the sixth floor (Chief Minister's office) on the state secretariat. Aaditya is here to take responsibility for entire Maharashtra," Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut told party cadre in the presence of Aaditya.

Aaditya is being soft-projected as Sena's CM face, and his candidature from Worli, which has a strong saffron and Marathi vote bank, was being talked about in political circles for months.

"With your permission, and that of the sitting MLA, and Shiv Sainiks... I will contest the elections," said Aaditya. On the dais, which had the slogan 'Heech tee vel' (this is the time) on the backdrop, the 29-year-old Aaditya, said he would "develop Worli and take it to the global level, and this would be replicated at the Maharashtra level and across the country."

"My constituency will be Worli and though it will be developed, my karmabhoomi will be entire Maharashtra. I will work for it... I have not taken this decision for myself. I do not want to become an MLA, minister or chief minister. I am not chasing my personal dreams, but those of the people," he said.

Aaditya will replace incumbent Shiv Sena MLA from Worli, Sunil Shinde.

While Shiv Sena sources said Worli, Mahim and Shivdi in Mumbai, and Osmanabad in Marathwada, were being considered as potential constituencies for the Thackeray scion, the choice was Worli due to the party's strong presence. Worli has a mix of working class, middle class and elite residents. The Shiv Sena also wooed former NCP MLA from the constituency, Sachin Ahir, into its fold, to ensure that Aaditya had an easy fight on his hands.

Election strategist Prashant Kishor is working with the Shiv Sena to chalk out Aaditya's political strategies. Incidentally, while the BJP is yet to formally announce its alliance and seat-sharing pact with the Shiv Sena, it has made no bones about how the Sena, which hitherto played the role of a big brother in Maharashtra, will have to settle for a lesser share of Maharashtra's 288 assembly seats.

It is notable that using his characteristic humour, Bal Thackeray had once compared Gandhi family's dynastic politics to a pan vendor's shop ownership, which always stays with the family. However, it was the same Thackeray, who in an emotional appeal at a public rally, told the Sena workers to take 'care' of his son and grandson, Uddhav and Aaditya, respectively.

In the Monday rally, Aaditya, who was accompanied by mother Rashmi and senior Sena leaders, indicated he was looking for a larger role in state politics after being elected. "Canvass for me in all villages. Every MLA being elected is a vote for me," he stressed, adding they would work for a Maharashtra that was educated and free of unemployment, pollution, and farmer indebtedness.

He added that his 'Jan Ashirwad yatra' and 'Aaditya Samwad' rallies had met with a good response from people.

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