Maharashtra Polls: Sena reminding people to vote for bow-and-arrow, not lotus

Party is approaching middle- and upper-middle class voters in seats held by the BJP so far; they are reminding voters that the two parties have split and that they cannot vote for one symbol anymore

Bent on teaching its ex a lesson after their messy divorce, the Shiv Sena has decided not to be content with its traditional slum and Marathi vote bank and poach the BJP’s middle- and upper-middle-class voters as well.

Literally setting its sights higher, the Sena is aggressively pursuing voters in high-rises and through Advanced Locality Managements (ALMs). It has also decided to target businessmen — another community that is expected to vote for the BJP.

Sources say Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray is also speaking to members of ALMs. File pic
Sources say Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray is also speaking to members of ALMs. File pic

The Sena is taking a two-pronged approach to gain voter sympathy. Leaders say their strategy is to first remind voters that the two parties have split and that they cannot vote for one symbol anymore, and then tell them that the BJP was the aggressor in the break up and had caught the Sena off-guard.

This is true especially in seats like Bandra (West), Malabar Hill and Mumbadevi, which were with the BJP in the alliance, and the Sena has never contested on. While the Sena is believed to have an advantage over the BJP in terms of the number of workers it has in these areas, it is not taking any chances and is carrying out a sustained building-to-building campaign.

Sources in the party said even Aaditya Thackeray has been in touch with various Advanced Locality Managements in these areas to make them understand that the two parties are no longer together and to ask them to see the party signs separately.

Sympathy factor
Sena leaders are also busy explaining to residents that the BJP was the one that wanted to end the alliance and that their party had nothing to do with it. To gain voter sympathy they are claiming that while the BJP had planned the break up, and thus has a proper strategy for every seat, the Sena is not as well prepared, as the split had come as a shock. “We need to tell people the difference between the two parties and even Aaditya saheb is involved in the process. He is getting in touch with ALMs from various parts of the city,” said a Sena leader.

Candidate speak
The Sena candidate of Bandra (West), Vikas Chawri, said, “I have various locality managements in my area. I will get in touch with them and meet them soon to explain my plans.” The Sena candidate from Malabar Hill, Arvind Dudhwadkar, said, “Going door to door is not possible and hence we are going building to building. I have arranged meetings with society managements to get permission to address the residents.”

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