Aaditya Thackeray: Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray’s tours draw crowds, raise concern in BJP camp | Mumbai News – Times of India

MUMBAI: Aaditya Thackeray’s statewide tours have set the alarm bells ringing in the Maharashtra BJP’s war room, sources in the party said on Sunday.
Aaditya has been hopping around the state in a bid to revamp the Shiv Sena following the revolt led by chief minister Eknath Shinde last month. The Shinde faction subsequently teamed up with the BJP to flag off a new political formation in state politics.

Reports that Aaditya has been receiving a warm reception have made BJP strategists wary ahead of a slew of civic body elections across the state, including Mumbai and Thane, sources added. The municipal polls, scheduled tentatively for October, will determine the prospects of Thackeray as well as the Shinde faction-BJP alliance.
Aaditya recently addressed a well-attended party jamboree in Pachora, a village in Jalgaon district, which is the political bastion of Gulabrao Patil, a senior minister in the present regime. Matoshree heaved a sigh of relief following reports of a near stampede at the Pachora meeting as Shiv Sainiks jostled to get closer to the dais to meet the former minister, said a Sena activist.

The state BJP strategists are worried that both Uddhav Thackeray and Aaditya will keep harping on the Sena revolt which, they allege, shows the rebels’ unbridled lust for power. Clearly, the state BJP is keen on allaying the impression, if any, that it lent a helping hand to Sena’s ‘gaddars’ (traitors) to topple the MVA government.
Pointing out that the ‘gaddar’ narrative was Matoshree’s way of striking a chord among Sena’s voters, especially in the MMR region where Shinde plans to strike deep roots in the municipal corporation elections, a BJP functionary said, “We need to fine-tune a poll strategy to counter the Thackeray Papa-son’s ‘ khanjeer khupasala‘ (dagger-in-the-back) rhetoric. Voters often get carried away by the ‘sympathy’ factor. Hence, Matoshree’s attempts to project Uddhav-ji as the ‘underdog’.”

A sizeable section in the BJP is of the view that the party need not share the Shinde faction’s ideological baggage. “Eknath-ji keeps referring to the Sena’s Hindutva legacy which Balasaheb Thackeray and Anand Dighe espoused aggressively in the 1990s. The BJP has Prime Minister Modi as its most popular vote-gatherer. We need not borrow icons from other parties. We have to keep intact our political identity,” he said.
Political experts said the BJP-Shinde alliance should concentrate on good governance and tackle development issues such as irrigation, minimum remunerative prices to farmers, roads and health care and power. Also, the Shinde regime has on its plate a slew of legal and constitutional issues with far-reaching political consequences.

Since the fall of the MVA government, Thackeray and Aaditya have shown resilience in revamping the Sena machinery. Many in the Sena think the revolt has shaken Matoshree out of its stupor.
The senior Thackeray has been visiting shakhas across the city to win the trust of grassroot Shiv Sainiks, while Aaditya has been addressing meetings in faraway villages as part of the ‘Shiv Samvad Yatra’ crusade in a bid to dispel popular perception that the Sena is a Mumbai-centric party.