Preparing to extend the party’s footprint nationally, the Shiv Sena would contest the elections in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan next year, said Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray. Indicating that the party would keep open the option of contesting on its own and not as a constituent of the NDA, the son of party president Uddhav Thackeray said the Sena’s plan was to contest “as we fought elections in Gujarat and Goa”.
”Firstly, we are going national. As we fought elections in Gujarat and Goa, we will fight elections in Rajasthan next year and (in) Madhya Pradesh. In UP, Bihar and Kashmir, we have received a good number of votes. We may contest in Kerala too,” he said in an interview to The Indian Express.
Calling the Sena the only regional party taken seriously at the national level, the 27-year-old leader who has been seen taking an increasingly central role in party activities said the party had a clear plan for its growth. “We will have vision plans for cities and states across the country. Each will have their own issues, so we have to be glocal,” he said.
About the BJP government in Maharashtra and at the Centre, Aaditya said he had witnessed disillusionment against the government everywhere he travelled. “Every section of society is unhappy. The Maratha community was promised reservation, but we don’t know where this stands. Today, there are protests far and wide across the state. If the government doesn’t do enough to quell this, just advertisements and assurances are not going to help,” he said.
He further remarked that the current BJP regime and the previous Congress-NCP government seemed very alike. “There seems to be a policy paralysis creeping in, on tackling terrorism, increasing industries and jobs, education reforms,” he said.
About whether the Sena could align with other regional parties in an anti-BJP front, Aaditya said the Sena was not against any party. “I don’t understand how the BJP and the PDP have come together, for they have spoken different things. If that can happen, any equation can happen in this country,” he said.
He also defended the Sena’s regular criticism of policies and decisions of a government in which it is a partner. “If there is no communication between allies behind closed doors, and if we learn through media about decisions, we will have to voice it (our opinions) in the media. That is what is happening. What we are saying is not criticism. What we are saying is what we are hearing from people, a sort of feedback mechanism for the government,” added Thackeray.