From photographer to CM, Uddhav's journey to the top

Shiv Sena's Uddhav Thackeray. (PTI Photo)

From being an ace photographer to getting closer to becoming the chief minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray has come a long way.

The big challenge that he faced was that as being a political heir to his father Bal Thackeray,  he is often compared with the late charismatic leader and one of the most powerful orators. 

Balasaheb had founded Shiv Sena in 1966.

Once known for his soft image,  the 59-year-old Uddhav ji, as he is popularly known, has emerged as a tough leader, who could openly challenge the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo.
At the meeting of Shiv Sena,  NCP and Congress,  he was the unanimous choice for the post of CM.

In case,  if he accepts,  he would become the first from the Thackeray family to assume the post of power,  which otherwise is known to run governments through "remote control".

As the Shiv Sena president or 'Shiv Sena pramukh',  he is quite balanced and have an extremely modern and professional approach,  and is often seen carrying a tab which has all finer details at his fingertips.

Born on 27 July 1960,  to Balasaheb and late Meenatai,  he was their third child after Bindumadhav or Binda and Jaidev.  

He was named 'Dinga' by uncle, late Shrikant Thackeray,  the father of his cousin Raj Thackeray.  

In fact, Uddhav's mother Meenatai and Raj's mother Kunda are sisters.  In fact,  his aunt named him 'Shravanbal',  an ideal son,  as he was the most obedient among brothers and cousins.

Uddhav is a graduate from the famous JJ School of Arts and so as Raj.

In the nineties, particularly between 1995-99 when the erstwhile Shiv Sena-BJP government was in power,  Uddhav and Raj,  accompanied Balasaheb at public functions. 

In 2003,  at the party's conclave in the hill town of Mahabaleshwar,  it was Raj who proposed Uddhav's name as the executive president of the party. Balasaheb was then 76.

Slowly,  he started taking over the functioning of the party at the instance of his father.

The first tiff was with veteran Narayan Rane,  a former chief minister and leader of the opposition, who had to be expelled by the Sena supremo.

A major minus for him was that he cannot keep his cousin,  Raj,  in the party fold,  the later rebelled and floated Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. 

In 2014, the Shiv Sena and BJP contested against each other but came to form the government after the polls. But,  Uddhav was always assertive continued to target Modi-Shah even while being in government.  

When in December 2014, the BJP-Sena government started off, he shared excellent relations with CM Devendra Fadnavis but after the tussle for the top job,  their relations soared.

During the 2019 polls and the last annual Dassera rally,  he made it public that a Shiv Sainik would be the next CM,  which now is realised.

He has come out with two photo books - Maharashtra Desh (2010) and Pahava Vitthal (2011). His expertise is in aerial photography and wildlife photography.

Uddhav is married to Rashmi and has two sons Aditya,  an MLA and Tejas, a wildlife enthusiast and conservationist. 

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