Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray and current president Uddhav Thackeray may have stayed away from electoral politics, but Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray is not averse to contesting an assembly election if he is required to. “I have never kept myself away from that (electoral politics). If at all there is a need for me to do so, why not?” Aaditya said in an interview to The Indian Express on Tuesday, ahead of elections to the crucial Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) next week.
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Stating that there is tremendous work that can be done as a member of the Legislative Assembly, the Sena scion who has been campaigning across Mumbai over the past week conceded that while the party founder and his grandfather, Bal Thackeray, took a decision never to contest an election, he did not impose his belief on others in the family. “When my grandfather took a decision never to contest polls, I think he believed in a certain way. He never imposed on any of us. He never said it’s wrong to contest elections or that we must never contest elections. His decision was respected by the party and the people,” said Aaditya.
With the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena contesting the BMC poll against each other for the first time in nearly two decades, Aaditya also said he was disappointed with the BJP-led state government’s clamour to take credit for various development work. “The credit war has become so cheap that today it has become a Twitter government. They tweet out things, saying we are with this company and so many jobs have been created. After three years, there are no jobs created,” he said.
Adding that the BJP was attempting to take credit for the Metro Rail built by the previous Congress-led regime, he said the party’s behaviour was “very childish”.
The BJP and the Sena are front-runners for the critical BMC elections, and either party has been heaping accusations against the other. While the BJP, whose campaign is led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, has charged the Sena with being unwilling to bring in transparency into the functioning of the BMC, a newly aggressive Uddhav Thackeray had been accusing the BJP of insulting its alliance partner in the state government before he unilaterally called off seat-sharing talks for the civic polls.
Reacting to the accusations against the Sena, Aaditya said, the Sena, wherever it was elected, had demonstrated results. “For example, 55 flyovers in the city, the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, initiation of a sea link, tiger safari at the national park and other projects were taken up during 1995-1999. No Sena leader has created a business empire for himself as leaders from other parties have. Sena has created wealth for the people,” he said.