Marathi heartland Worli cakewalk for Aaditya Thackeray

Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray. (PTI photo)

Worli's Vidhan Sabha seat is now the cynosure of all eyes as Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray's son Aaditya is contesting the polls from here. He is the first in the family to do so, 53 years after late Bal Thackeray founded the party to take up the cause of 'Marathi-manoos', and then Hindutva. Aaditya is the great-grandson of late social reformer Prabhodhankar Thackeray, one of the pillars of 'Samyukta Maharashtra' movement.

The constituency covers Worli Koliwada, Worli Naka, Adarsh Nagar, Mahalaxmi Race Course, BDD Chawls, Century Bazaar, Haji Ali junction and Lower Parel. 

Contesting against 29-year-old Aaditya is Congress-NCP alliance's Suresh Mane, who is a veteran Dalit leader and president of Bahujan Socialist Republican Party, and contesting on NCP ticket is Independent candiate Abhijeet Bichukale, a controversial celebrity who appeared in 'Bigg Boss Marathi', and Gautam Gaikwad from Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi.

"There are issues and we would solve it together," says Aaditya as he meets people during his campaign trail.
As a matter of fact, Aaditya, the Yuva Sena president, is being projected as Sena's chief ministerial candidate.
"Worli is a part of Girangaon, the original mill area of Mumbai. It is completely cosmopolitan. You will find all social strata and groups  settled here," said veteran political analyst Prakash Akolkar.

With regard to the challenges from NCP,  the Sena in the last six months had made every effort to neutralise it.
"Worli symbolises the Marathi heartland," says Jatin Desai, a veteran activist, writer and journalist. 

In fact,  the Shiv Sena has started groundwork in Worli, almost six months ago. They looked at seats like Worli and Mahim but zeroed in on the former.

Senior Shiv Sena leader Anil Parab, a close confidante of Thackeray family, held several meetings with leaders of the Worli area. Sitting Shiv Sena MLA Sunil Shinde and Sachin Ahir, who left NCP to join Sena, are together seen with Aaditya during the campaigning. Ahir was defeated by Shinde in 2014.

Worli comes under the Mumbai South Lok Sabha constituency that is represented by Arvind Sawant,  the Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Minister in Narendra Modi government.

"Our strategy is to ensure that all other candidates lose their deposits," a Sena leader said.
"It would be easy-going for the Shiv Sena but Aaditya would have several issues in hand like the redevelopment of BDD Chawls, the Worli Koliwada redevelopment and addressing the traffic mess," said Dinesh Sadh, a south Mumbai resident.

Worli: A Sena Bastion

* In 1990,  1995,  1999 & 2004, it was represented by late Dattaji Nalawade,  who was also the Speaker of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly from 1995-99.
* In 2009,  NCP's Sachin Ahir won the seat. He is now with Shiv Sena
* In 2014, Sena's Sunil Shinde defeated Ahir.

Worli Snapshot

* Worli was originally a fisherfolk settlement 
* It was part of the seven islands of Bombay
* It is home to top celebrities and Mumbai's who's who  
* The Bandra-Worli Sea Link can be seen from Worli seaface
* Statue of RK Laxman's 'Common Man' is here
* The Mahalaxmi Race Course, the meeting place of Mumbai's elite, is located here.
* Architectural landmarks like Nehru Centre and Nehru Planetarium are in Worli

 

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