After the death of Sena supremo Bal Thackeray in 2012, Mr Thackeray gained complete control of the party.
Mumbai: Despite being number the one party in Mumbai, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s leadership has been challenged by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) giant strides in the in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will have to pass another test — that of retaining the BMC, as the BJP is busy wooing independent candidates to prove its majority.
After the death of Sena supremo Bal Thackeray in 2012, Mr Thackeray gained complete control of the party. Questions were raised as to Mr Thackeray leadership, as he is softer than his father. However, Mr Thackeray managed to gain success in the Assembly polls with 63 MLAs, as BJP had snapped ties at the last minute. Despite the Modi wave, Mr Thackeray managed to get his MLAs elected, highlighting his leadership skills. The leader has recently expressed that he felt cheated and preferred going it alone for the BMC polls.
“Uddhavji has managed the party very well after Balasaheb’s demise. He has definitely taken the party ahead at all levels. The BMC success matters a lot to us, as we have contested independently. In last polls, we got 73 seats in alliance with BJP. But now 84 seats in the BMC are all ours. Uddhavji has fought against the ruling party alone and pulled the party through. We cannot ignore that,” Shiv Sena MLC Anil Parab told The Asian Age. The Sena leader also pointed out that BJP is powerful, which helped it to shape its success.
The struggle for Sena to gain control of the BMC will further prove Mr Thackeray’s leadership. However, Mr Parab has refused to accept it as a challenge. “We do not think that it is a challenge for Uddhavji to come to power in the BMC,” he said.
But the question remains as to how Mr Thackeray will gain control of the BMC. One option for it is to join hands with the BJP. But so much mudslinging has been done between the two that both the party’s workers do not want to work together. On the other hand, Sena may seek help from the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), which has seven corporators and a few independents. But there are chances that the independent corporators might go with the ruling party BJP where they would get more perks. Mr Thackeray had earlier refused to join hands with MNS, so its up to both cousins to iron out their differences.
Also, Mr Thackeray couldn’t consolidate non-Marathi votes despite of changing the focus of the campaign from Marathi to Mumbaikars. Gujaratis and other north Indians prefer BJP to Shiv Sena but a few Muslim votes has helped it.