Mumbai: A sea of supporters waving saffron flags and chanting slogans in favour of Aaditya Thackeray joined the 29-year-old in his roadshow on Thursday morning before he filed his nomination papers to contest the Maharashtra polls from Worli.
The first from his family to debut on the political pitch ever since his grandfather Bal Thackeray founded the Shiv Sena, Aaditya walked through the streets of Mumbai in a show of strength by BJP’s ally that has projected him as the chief ministerial face. Uddhav Thackeray had last week recalled the "promise" he had made to his late father to install a 'Shiv Sainik' (party worker) as the chief minister of Maharashtra.
The roadshow began from the party office in Lower Parel and culminated at the BMC Engineering Hub in Worli, where Aaditya filed his nomination papers. His father and Sena chief thanked the party for placing their trust in the young leader.
From 'Kem Cho Worli' in Gujarati to 'Namaste Worli' in Marathi and Kannada, junior Thackeray's picture waving at Mumbai was put up in the city. Aaditya is said to be a "pale imitation" of his grandfather Balasaheb, especially considering his social circle, which is made up of largely non-Marathi speakers. The posters could thus be seen as Sena's attempt to transform the nature of the party with Aaditya at the helm of it.
"I love politics since childhood as I used to tour with my grandfather and father. Whenever my friends and others questioned me asking what else I can do, I told them I can't do anything else but politics. To do something new, politics is the only medium that can change the lives of crores of people," Aaditya had said while addressing a gathering of party activists.
According to a party source, the Yuva Sena chief is a voracious reader, has the ability to hold his own in debates about the metropolis and the state, and has a connect with the grassroot Sainiks.
He is the "only leader in the country below the age of 30" who has already toured the entire state through his 'Jan Ashirwad' yatra and addressed over 75 'Aaditya sansads' (a two-way communication with youth), Yuva Sena secretary Varun Sardesai claimed.
The other youth leaders (of other parties) in the country are over 40 years of age, Sardesai, who is Aaditya Thackeray's cousin, pointed out. "All the data that he has collected during these extensive tours is being used to prepare Sena's manifesto. With Aaditya in the fray, the Sena's 'achche din' (good days) are all set to come," he said.