Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Thane to decide Uddhav, Shinde fate in Sena vs Sena battle

Thane had a special relationship with Balasaheb Thackeray, who founded the Shiv Sena in June 1966 and also championed the Hindutva movement.
Last Updated : 19 May 2024, 22:13 IST
Last Updated : 19 May 2024, 22:13 IST

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Thane: Fifty-eight years after the Shiv Sena was formed and two years after the split, the Thane Lok Sabha seat is all set for a Sena versus Sena battle.

While the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena has fielded Naresh Mhaske, the Uddhav Thackeray-headed Shiv Sena (UBT) has renominated two-time sitting MP Rajan Vichare. Incidentally, both Vichare and Mhaske were former mayors of Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC).

Thane had a special relationship with Balasaheb Thackeray, who founded the Shiv Sena in June 1966 and also championed the Hindutva movement. Beyond the Thackeray family, the big leader who dominated the Palghar-Thane-Raigad belt was the late Anand Dighe, an influential leader and the mentor of Shinde.

The two warring Sena factions are invoking the legacy of the party’s founder Balasaheb and Dighe, as they prepare for a fierce battle of supremacy in Thane, the mushrooming cosmopolitan city that neighbours the financial capital, Mumbai. 

As one passes through Thane, huge banners and posters with photos of Balasaheb and Dighe welcome people. Dighe was one of the closest to Balasaheb. 

“The Thane Lok Sabha seat is going to witness a contest in which the prestige of both sides of Shiv Sena would be at stake. For Thackeray and Shinde, they will leave no stone unturned to win this seat,” said veteran political analyst Prakash Akolkar. 

“Like Balasaheb, Dighe Saheb never fought elections but commanded tremendous following and respect. Balasaheb was known to keep the doors of his residence ‘Matoshree’ open to anyone who needed help, while Dighe ran a public durbar every evening from his residence in Thane, resolving grievances and settling disputes among people,” said a Thane resident who has seen the Shiv Sena growing in the region. 

“For any crisis, Dighe Saheb’s first question would be ‘Eknath kuthe ahye’ (where is Eknath?),” he said. 

As far as Thane Lok Sabha elections are concerned, the first MP was Sonubhau Baswant, who won in 1962. From 1967–76, the seat did not exist. Rambhau Mhalgi represented it in 1997 and 1980, having won from the Bharatiya Lok Dal and Janata Party, respectively. 

The BJP’s Ram Kapse won it in 1989 and 1991. Shiv Sena’s Prakash Paranjpe won it in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004. After his death, his son Anand Paranjpe won the seat in 2008.

In 2009, the Shiv Sena lost the seat to Sanjeev Naik of the NCP. However, Vichare, as part of the undivided Shiv Sena, won it in 2014 and 2019.

Published 19 May 2024, 22:13 IST

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