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Sena factions brace for foundation day fireworks

In the run-up to the Assembly elections in the state, Thackeray and Shinde will set the stage for what is to come ahead.
Last Updated : 18 June 2024, 03:52 IST

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Mumbai: Amid the backdrop of the Lok Sabha election results and an intense war-of-words over the Mumbai North-West parliamentary seat, the two warring Sena factions will celebrate their foundation day on 19 June in Mumbai.

Cartoonist-turned-politician Balasaheb Thackeray (23 January, 1926 – 17 November, 2012) founded the Shiv Sena on 19 June, 1966 and addressed the first-ever Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park on October 30, 1966.

When Thackeray launched the party, the welfare of the 'Marathi manoos' was on top of the agenda, with the party subsequently adopting Hindutva and championing the cause.

The June-July 2022 split in the Shiv Sena changed the course of Maharashtra's politics.

While Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who commands the ‘real’ Shiv Sena and ‘dhanushya-baan’ (bow-and-arrow) symbol will address the foundation day gathering at the National Sports Complex of India at Worli, his predecessor Uddhav Thackeray, who now heads the Shiv Sena (UBT) represented by the ‘mashaal’ (flaming torch) symbol, will address a gathering at the Shanmukhananda Hall at King’s Circle.

In the run-up to the Assembly elections in the state, Thackeray and Shinde will set the stage for what is to come ahead.

Thackeray has emerged as a key leader of the Congress-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (part of the opposition I.N.D.I.A. bloc) while Shinde is a key member of the BJP-led Maha Yuti (part of the NDA).

In the Lok Sabha polls, Shiv Sena contested 15 seats and won seven while Shiv Sena (UBT) contested 21 seats and won nine - the former saw a better strike rate.

The foundation day festivities also hold importance as they come months ahead of the local body polls, in which several big corporations are at stake - including those of Mumbai, Thane, Vasai-Virar, Mira-Bhayander, Kalyan-Dombivli, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nashik, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Amravati.

“During the two parallel events, there will be a heavy exchange of rhetoric. The NDA has won the polls and formed the government with Narendra Modi securing a third term as Prime Minister. However, the number of seats has come down, while the Congress-led alliance has made its mark. After two Lok Sabha terms, the country will get a Leader of the Opposition. The changed circumstances will have a bearing in Maharashtra as it is the second state to give a big jolt to the BJP after Uttar Pradesh,” a senior political commentator said.

“Maratha reservation, resentment among the OBCs, agrarian distress and farmers’ suicide are issues that the two factions are facing. Sitting MLAs on both sides and the probables will have to work very hard on the ground,” said veteran analyst Ajit Joshi.

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Published 18 June 2024, 03:52 IST

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