End of road for Thackeray legacy? Questions abound as Uddhav loses control over Sena lawmakers

A “vertical split” in the Shiv Sena is unavoidable, with 61-year-old former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray not being able to capitalise on the legacy of his father and party founder late Bal Thackeray, they say.

Uddhav Thackeray pic
"The Thackeray legacy will continue in his faction, but the sole proprietorship will not be there," a political analyst claimed. (Photo source: IE)

The split in the Shiv Sena shows Uddhav Thackeray is losing control over his MLAs and MPs, but it is still early to judge if the Thackeray legacy is fading, say political experts. A “vertical split” in the Shiv Sena is unavoidable, with 61-year-old former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray not being able to capitalise on the legacy of his father and party founder late Bal Thackeray, they say.

“The Thackeray legacy will continue in his faction, but the sole proprietorship will not be there,” a political analyst claimed. “It is to be seen if the Shiv Sena will remain only on paper or enjoy popular support,” he said. After a split in the Shiv Sena legislature party last month, the Udhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena on Tuesday suffered a fresh jolt with 12 of its 19 Lok Sabha members shifting allegiance to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.

Some of the grassroot party workers in Thane district, a Sena stronghold, have also joined the Shinde camp.Talking to PTI, a political observer said there is a basic difference between Bal Thackeray, who formed the Shiv Sena in 1966, and Uddhav Thackeray. ”The son got the father’s legacy by default as the latter installed him in the leadership role. Uddhav Thackeray never capitalised on the legacy and did nothing to establish his leadership. He took every one for granted,” the observer claimed.

Ever since Uddhav Thackeray took over the Shiv Sena’s leadership in 2003, he faced dissidence from leaders like Narayan Rane, who is now a BJP Union minister, and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief and cousin Raj Thackeray, when Bal Thackeray was alive. “The pinnacle of losing his legacy and grip over the party came in the form of the revolt by Eknath Shinde last month when Bal Thackeray is not around,” the political observer said. Bal Thackeray died in November 2012.

”There is nothing much to expect from Uddhav Thackeray as he seems confused about his own future role. He has been blaming those who deserted him, but at the same time he wants to welcome them back. He can’t make up his mind on reconciliation or a final goodbye,” he said.Another political analyst said it is too early to pass a judgement on the Thackeray legacy as it has just been about a month since the Sena is facing an internal turmoil.

“Given the structure and functioning of the party, such developments were unexpected. One has to figure out why ordinary Shiv Sainiks are quiet over the large scale rebellion,” he said. Another political commentator claimed a “vertical split” in the Shiv Sena is unavoidable.”The rebels don’t want to be out of the Shiv Sena. They want the party, and the BJP wants to take the Shiv Sena out of ‘Matoshree’ (the Thackeray family home in Mumbai),” he said. “Uddhav Thackeray has for the first time faced a major revolt when his father is not around. The Thackeray legacy will continue in his faction, but the sole proprietorship will not be there,” he said.

Former CM Uddhav Thackeray is heading for a long battle with the rebels over the Sena symbol and control of the party, he added. Bal Thackeray founded the Shiv Sena 56 years ago on the issue of Marathi pride and later in 1990s switched over to the Hindutva agenda. The party has seen revolts by Chhagan Bhujbal, who now in the Sharad Pawar-led NCP, Narayan Rane and Raj Thackeray in the past.

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