FOR the ten municipal corporations, including the BMC, and 25 zilla parishads going to polls, the Shiv Sena has listed its president Uddhav Thackeray and youth wing head Aaditya Thackeray as the star campaigners. Apart from the father-son duo, the list also includes the names of former chief minister Manohar Joshi and Liladhar Dhake, and ministers Subhash Desai, Divakar Raote, Ramdas Kadam, Ravindra Waikar among others. Sena MPs Anil Desai, Sanjay Raut, Arvind Sawant, Gajanan Kirtikar and Rahul Shewale also figure in the list.
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On Monday, the Sena submitted the list of 40 star campaigners to the State Election Commission. The other names include Adesh Bandekar, Amol Kolhe and Sharad Ponkshe from the Sena’s film division wing. In 2012, Aaditya made his debut as a campaigner during the municipal corporation and district council polls in the state. The Shiv Sena leaders appeared to be confident about Aaditya’s influence on the younger generation. “His rallies and morchas, including the recent KG to PG morcha, have been able to attract a lot of youngsters towards Sena. He is a youth icon not only for Marathis but for all communities. It will help us in the changed political scenario,” said a Sena leader.
The leader added that it would help to attract people from Gujarati and north Indian communities too. “So far, these communities have been voting either for the Congress or the BJP. But we hope Aaditya will be able to reduce that vote share by bringing them towards us,” said the leader.
Another Sena leader said the inclusion of names from film division also shows that Sena wants to capitalise their influence too. “The leaders from the film division were campaigning aggressively in the municipal councils from behind the scene. These are known faces in the Marathi community due to portrayal of certain famous roles and have their own following. We hope to capitalise on that as well,” added the leader.