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An Old Slogan Comes Back to Bite Shiv Sena After Aaditya Thackeray’s Lungi Experiment

In view of Aditya Thackeray’s latest experiment to connect with voters, social media platforms are busy reminding the Shiv Sena of their historical ‘Bajao Pungi-Hatao Lungi’ campaign launched by Bal Thackeray decades ago.

Manoj Khandekar | News18

Updated:October 22, 2019, 3:49 PM IST
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An Old Slogan Comes Back to Bite Shiv Sena After Aaditya Thackeray’s Lungi Experiment
File photo of Aaditya Thackeray at a poll campign in Worli, Mumbai.

The electoral debut of Aaditya Thackeray, first member his family to take the poll plunge, has made Mumbai's Worli the most talked about seat and all eyes will be on how the Yuva Sena chief fares.

While the Yuva Sena leader’s win in the next week’s state polls may not come as a surprise, as the seat is considered a stronghold of the party led by Udhhav Thackeray – it’s the political alteration in Sena’s stance that is making news.

From Bal Thackeray’s “Bajao pungi, Hatao Lungi” -- the radical campaign against the outpour of migrant workers from South India into Mumbai -- to Aaditya Thackeray sporting a ‘lungi’ to lure voters, the party seems to have taken a complete U-turn this election.

While the Sena nominee has been trying to make a mark in politics by conducting roadshows, foot marches and raising issues like cutting of trees in Aarey Colony and Mumbai's nightlife, the presence of a large number of South Indian voters in his constituency, Worli, may be the deciding factor of his political fortunes.

To approach these non- Marathi voters, the Thackeray scion has taken the help of “social engineering” and was spotted in a traditional Lungi and Angvastram during a campaign in Worli.

However, in view of Aditya Thackeray’s latest experiment ahead of polls, social media platforms are busy reminding the Shiv Sena of their historical ‘Bajao Pungi-Hatao Lungi’ campaign launched by Bal Thackeray decades ago.

What was “Bajao Pungi- Hatao Lungi” campaign?

In the decades of 1960 and 70, a number of people from south India migrated to Mumbai in search employment and a better life, a move that caused massive resentment among the local Marathi-speaking population.

Riding on this feeling of alienation, Bal Thackeray, with his ‘Hatao Lungi’ campaign struck a chord with thousands of Marathis, lending them a voice to become their “dharti putr” or the son of the soil.

He started this campaign through his magazine ‘Marmik’ in which he used to publish the names of south Indians who migrated to Mumbai.

The very genesis of his party Shiv Sena, established in 1966, and its meteoric rise in the political discourse of the country, was based on opposing the presence of south Indians. Following this, Shiv Sena gradually acquired control over trade unions and his party had become the voice of Mumbai.

Grandson’s U-turn

By each passing day, Aditya is writing a new chapter in the politics of the Thackeray clan and seems to be determined to change the image of party by opting a new path.

Several of his posters have been put up in the constituency in different languages, an indication that the Sena wants to reach out to non-Marathi voters as well, to ensure that junior Thackeray romps home with a big win margin. Apart from banners in Marathi, posters in English read: "Hello Worli", while Gujarati and Urdu banners great locals with words like "Kem Cho Worli" and "Salaam Worli" respectively.

Prashant Kishore’s big role

People keeping a closer eye on Maharashtra politics interpret that Prashant Kishore’s strategy is the major reason behind this changing face of Shiv Sena. Some claim that Aditya’s new image is being built to transform Sena’s pre-established image of a Marathi party to a multicultural party. For this, the party has deployed fresh mediums such as social media, putting up hoardings and banner and experiments in the Yuva Sena leader's attire.

Polling for all 288 Assembly seats in the state will be held on October 21 and counting of votes will take place on October 24.

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