The Bihar election has given twin boosts to Shiv Sena’s confidence — not only did the verdict bring humiliation to friend-turned-foe BJP, it also brought over two lakh votes for Sena itself. Emboldened by this vote of confidence in its first excursion in Bihar, the Sena has now set its sight on Uttar Pradesh — a state with the largest political might, with 403 Assembly seats.
Aaditya Thackeray’s former Hindi teacher, Vinay Shukla (in yellow) will spearhead the Shiv Sena’s campaign in Uttar Pradesh
The Sena seeks to contest the UP Assembly elections coming up in early 2017, and leading the charge will be Yuva Sena chief, Aaditya Thackeray’s former Hindi teacher, Vinay Shukla (38), popularly referred to as ‘Sir’ in reference to his teaching career.
In Bihar, the Sena may not have won a single seat, but the party is thrilled with its performance nevertheless. For a party that has had a very clear anti-north Indian agenda in the past, receiving over 2.11 lakh votes in Bihar is quite an accomplishment.
This is larger than the votes garnered by the NCP or even the AIMIM. According to Shukla, the party was even ahead of the BJP in 35 of the 80 seats it had contested.
Vote of thanks
After the verdict, Aaditya Thackeray had posted on Facebook, “I cannot thank the voters of Bihar enough for having accepted the Shiv Sena so well as to give a good electoral start in the elections.
On the 80 seats that the party contested, the candidates polled in 2,11,137 votes (0.6% vote share of the electorate all across the state of Bihar). In many places, the candidates finished in the third spot, with a very narrow margin between the second and the third.
Surely, this is a great kick off and as the party spreads across the nation and initiates contesting elections all over, this acceptance is a boost.” According to Shukla, the party would have contested more seats if there hadn’t been a problem with the election symbol.
“We had wanted to contest 150 seats, but another party, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, also has the same bow and arrow. We were being offered other symbols, which didn’t make much sense, hence, we contested only 80 seats,” said the 38-year-old.
The jubilant Sena will now seek to expand its presence to the UP, where a dozen party members were elected to district panchayats earlier this month. The first step will come with the Muzaffarnagar by-poll, slated to take place next month.
According to Shukla, the Sena has already made its presence felt not just there, but across half of the state, especially in Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi and other places such as Jhansi, Saharanpur, Meerut, Bulandsahar and Allahabad. Ahead of the Assembly polls in 2017, Shukla also intends to invite the Thackerays to UP as star campaigners.
“For the 2017 polls, we will start our work as soon as 2016. Aaditya and Uddhavji couldn’t campaign in Bihar because of the KDMC and Kolhapur elections, but we will surely get them to campaign in Uttar Pradesh. We will have to start working earlier to build a stronger organisation,” said Shukla.