Aaditya Thackeray to contest in Maha polls from Mumbai’s Worli assembly
Ending weeks of speculation, the Shiv Sena on Sunday said it has decided to field Aaditya Thackeray, the elder son of party chief Uddhav Thackeray, from the Worli assembly constituency in Mumbai.
The development will make the 29-year-old the first member of the Thackeray clan ever to contest an election.
According to sources, Shiv Sena’s sitting MLA Sunil Shinde from Worli will vacate his place for Aaditya.
“Worli is considered one of the safest constituencies for the Sena, hence Aaditya’s candidature has been finalised. Former NCP leader Sachin Ahir had recently joined the Sena, which will make Thackeray’s win easy,” a source was quoted as saying.
Ahir had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 assembly election against Sunil Shinde.
Ever since the Shiv Sena was founded by late Bal Thackeray in 1966, no member of the family had contested any election or held any constitutional post.
Although Uddhav’s cousin and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray had announced his intention to contest the 2014 state assembly elections, he later changed his mind.
Speculation around Aaditya’s foray into electoral politics started making rounds after he launched state-wide ‘Jan Ashirwad Yatra’ to thank the electorate for their support in the last Lok Sabha polls and to seek their backing for the upcoming Assembly elections.
In the recent past, the Thackeray scion has actively campaigned for 24-hour night-life in Mumbai, banning the use of single-use plastic, Save Aarey, among others.
The Sena has been projecting Aaditya as the chief ministerial face if the NDA returns to power after the next month’s assembly polls, in line with the promise Uddhav made to his late father Bal Thackeray to install a ‘Shiv Sainik’ as the CM of Maharashtra.
His elevation comes amidst the uncertainty over Sena’s proposed poll tie-up with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The two parties are reportedly locked in intense negotiations over seat-sharing and the CM post.
In the past, the BJP has been adamant about incumbent CM Devendra Fadnavis helming the state’s affairs once again, while Sena has sought a two-CM policy which would allow it to install one of their own party members as the CM for half of the five-year term.
In the 2014 elections, the BJP and the Sena had contested separately over a dispute over sharing of seats.
In the end, the BJP won maximum 122 out of 260 seats it had contested while the Sena bagged 63 out of 282 seats. Both the parties later joined hands to form a BJP-led government.
Meanwhile, Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday also issued A-B form to select Sena leaders, a mandatory document to confirm the candidature of a person representing the party.
The names include Minister of State for Water Resources Vijay Shivtare (Saswad in Pune district) and MoS Animal Husbandry Arjun Khotkar (Jalna, in Jalna district).
The 288-member Maharashtra Assembly will go to the polls on October 21 while the results will be declared on October 24.