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To salvage Shiv Sena, Aaditya Thackeray steps out of Mumbai

Mumbai: Once criticized for favouring the company of Bollywood stars and celebrities instead of Shiv Sena leaders, Aaditya Thackeray has hit the road to connect with the party’s base since the fall of Uddhav Thackeray government.

Aaditya has been touring across the state, especially the constituencies of rebel Sena MLAs, as the party faction led by his father Uddhav Thackeray faces an existential crisis.

Over the last one-andhalf months, the tone and tenor of the usually calm 32-year-old Aaditya have taken on a note of aggression.

He has dubbed the rebels as “gaddar” or traitors, “dirt of the nallah” who “stabbed” his father in the back when he was sick.

The language has not gone down well.

Shahaji Patil, rebel Sena MLA from Sangola in Solapur, said the young leader was trying to mimic his grandfather, the late Sena founder Bal Thackeray, but “duplication” does not work.

“These MLAs are 50, 60 years old. Parents teach children to speak respectfully to elders. But I don’t know whether he has been taught that,” Patil said last week.

Kishori Pednekar, former Mumbai mayor and one of the Sena leaders leading the charge against the rebels, said Aaditya Thackeray cannot be expected to sit on his hands when the legacy of his grandfather, furthered by his father Uddhav, was at stake.

“The Shiv Sena is a party with strong ties to its first family. Aaditya has seen all these people (the rebels) since he was a child. Aaditya has seen the close bond between these people and his family. So he is naturally pained by their behaviour,” she said.

Ketan Bhosale, an associate professor of politics at Sathaye Colllge of the city, observed Aaditya Thackeray’s efforts to save the party were “too little and too late”. (PTI)

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