A close aide of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray says the Sena chief has decided on contesting the assembly elections from one of two constituencies in Mumbai Dadar or Vile Parle. If Thackeray decides to emulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi and contest from two seats, the second seat will be in Thane, the leader said.
A leader said if Uddhav Thackeray contests in the polls, it will galvanise party workers and strengthen the Sena’s claim to the CM’s chair. File pic
According to the party, contesting in the assembly polls will lend more credence to Thackeray’s claim to the CM’s chair if the Sena comes to power. Dadar is currently held by MNS MLA Nitin Sardesai and Vile Parle by Congress’s Krishna Hegde. The Sena used to hold all three seats in Thane but one was vacated by Rajan Vichare, who is now a Lok Sabha MP from Thane constituency.
The leader said, “The two seats have been decided, and Uddhav will be contesting from either Dadar or Vile Parle. In the Lok Sabha elections, we won by a margin of 40,000 and 54,000 votes respectively from these two seats. However, if need be, he may contest from two seats, and one of them would be in Thane.”
The leader claims Thackeray doesn’t want to get to the CM’s office via the legislative council (which is elected by the MLAs), but be the ‘people’s choice’. Earlier, his cousin, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, had announced he would contest the polls, purportedly from Dadar. However, he backtracked, claiming the Thackeray family doesn’t contest elections.
Dadar, a bastion for the Shiv Sena, was ceded to the MNS in the last assembly elections. The Sena also lost all five seats from Dadar in the municipal elections. In Thane, the Sena has been ruling the corporation for more than a decade. Recently, Ravindra Phatak, a Congress leader, joined the Sena. Phatak was one of the rebels who had quit the Sena and gone to the Congress with Narayan Rane.
While no leader wished to come on record, another Sena leader, on condition of anonymity, said, “We have suggested to Uddhavji that he should contest the elections. This will give party workers a boost and also strengthen the party’s claims to the CM’s chair.”
On Wednesday, local leaders of every district were handed over the forms they have to give to candidates while filing nominations for the assembly elections. The last day for filing nomination is September 27. The party will convene a meeting of its state executive leaders on Friday, where it will take a decision on the alliance and other important issues.