“He will be in the league of Sharad Pawar, Mamata Bannerjee, Nitish Kumar and Akhilesh Yadav,” he said. “Uddhav-ji will garner unprecedented sympathy from the people of Maharashtra if he is seen as crossing swords with the rulers of New Delhi as did the great Maratha heroes during Mughal times.”
The EC’s order on Saturday freezing Sena’s ‘bow and arrow’ symbol sent shock waves through Sena. The Andheri (East) assembly bypoll lent urgency to the matter. Thus, the EC order is interim in nature. There are reports that Sena may make fresh attempts to claim its poll symbol after the bypoll.
Clearly, the EC order is a setback for Sena. “We knew this was going to happen as everything has been rigged,” said a Sena strategist.
Thackeray needs to address two issues at the earliest, said experts. First, he needs to draw up a robust gameplan, apart from the ongoing legal battle to counter Shinde. Second, Thackeray needs to shore up the Sena’s sagging morale and revamp the Sena’s organisational edifice.
By projecting Thackeray as a ‘martyr’, Sena hopes to touch a chord among a large section of the Marathi-speaking voters, it is said. This explains why Thackeray, while addressing party functionaries at Matoshree, riled PM Narendra Modi. Describing the PM as ‘bad coin’, Thackeray said Sena will anyway march ahead as it is inspired by Balasaheb’s views and ideology. “This is our last battle. If we win no power on earth will harm the Sena,” he said.
The November 3 bypoll will be a litmus test for Thackeray, Shinde and BJP, said analysts. Sena hopes to retain the Andheri (E) seat which fell vacant following the death of its MLA Ramesh Latke. Sena has fielded Rituja, Latke’s wife, as its candidate. The Shinde faction, which was keen on joining the fray, will keep away as BJP plans to field Murji Patel, who had lost to Latke in 2019 assembly poll.