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​Sena Split Hurts Sainiks: Thackeray Fanatics Await ‘Orders’, Moderates Want Rebels to Return

By: Pragya Kaushika

News18.com

Last Updated: June 26, 2022, 17:52 IST

Mumbai

Worli MLA and minister Aaditya Thackeray with Eknath Shinde, (Twitter)

Worli MLA and minister Aaditya Thackeray with Eknath Shinde, (Twitter)

Considered a stronghold of Shiv Sena, Worli houses few of the biggest shakhas of Sena, with thousands of members who are ready to take the streets at the hint of their leader direction and has around 236 nagar pramukhs in the region

The lull and silence around one of the biggest shakhas of Shiv Sena located in the bylanes of Worli tells a tale of hurt, uncertainty and hope that all will end well.

Considered a stronghold of Shiv Sena, Worli houses few of the biggest shakhas of Sena, with thousands of members who are ready to take the streets at the hint of their leader direction and has around 236 nagar pramukhs in the region.

While houses of rebels are being vandalised, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had a meeting with the post holders of every rank in these two days.

This is seen as an exercise to ensure the party still is in control of the Uddhav camp and also to check the migration to Shinde camp.

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There is lull and silence around the shakha office in Worli. Shakha is the basic unit and has a network at the grassroots. It is as if the workers are waiting ‘orders’ for the suspense to be over. A small group of people across the office are engrossed in discussing the party’s future. Ask them about who they are with and a majority says that Thackerays are Sena’s identity, whereas some choose to stay silent.

On prodding them more, all we get are smiles and a reply from a man in his 30s who does not want to be named, “Let’s see. But whatever happened was wrong. They should come back. They are also Sainiks.”

While there has been a war by the Bharatiya Janata Party against dynastic politics, Shiv Sainiks have not started questioning that yet, at least in Mumbai. “They (Shinde camp) can’t take Thackerays’ name as every party runs on name, be it the Congress (Gandhi) or NCP (Pawar). Shiv Sena runs on Thackerays’ name,” explained Vijay Bhange, shakha pramukh, Worli branch.

Rutuj, in his 30s, who runs a makeshift vada pav shop in front of shakha, says, “Thackeray is our saaheb. The rebel MLAs will lose and if they come here without re- joining the Sena, they will be beaten up.”

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But how are sainiks dealing with this vertical split in the party?

Some have utmost hatred for Eknath Shinde and ridicule him by calling him “autorickshaw wala who was given so much” and yet betrayed Thackerays. There are a few who believe that there is no need to be this hateful against Shinde. However, these liberal sainiks are a handful and still believe that Shinde’s split was wrong.

Sanjay Pange, deputy Shakha pramukh of one of the shakhas in Worli and had come to listen to Aditya Thackeray. “Ek autorickshaw driver ko MLA bana diya, itna diya fir gaddari kiya. Chunav Chinh to Shivsena kahi tha na (An autorickshaw driver was given so much and yet he betrayed. He contested on Sena’s symbol),” said the Sainik.

Bhange, shakha pramukh of Worli branch, says that Shiv Sainiks aren’t a silent lot as they appear. So, why are they so silent, barring a few incidents of vandalism at the residence of rebel MLAs?

Bhange has a reply, “Shiv Sainiks are not silent. Abhi aadesh nahi hai ki kuch kiya jaaye (We have not got any orders yet). Shiv Sainik are waiting for the MVA government to come back. They are waiting for the order,” said a seemingly upset shakha pramukh.

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But can the party go with the Shinde camp? And Bhange quotes Balasaheb Thackeray, “Shiv Sainiks are still very much intact and are with the Thackerays. Aamdars (MLAs) and Khaasdars (MPs) are just public representatives. Balasaheb used to say that public representatives are just for public service and not for the party. We have a separate organisation in the party. We have shakha pramukh, vibhag pramukh taluka pramukh and jilha pramukh, etc.”

Bhange, who believes that MPs and MLAs come and go but Sainiks remain, alleges that the rebels had gone to Shinde camps due to fear of ED.

On the vandalism at the residences of the rebel MLAs, Bhange said it is just an expression of their feelings against them. “Later when the election happens, will the BJP adjust 40 MLAs? The BJP too has claimants on those seats.”

He has a suggestion for the rebels, “When they come to Vidhan bhawan, there will be clarity on how many are with Uddhav and how many with Shinde. They can come with central security. Even Kirit Somaiya goes with central security…”

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first published:June 26, 2022, 15:14 IST
last updated:June 26, 2022, 17:52 IST