Facing one of its most crucial tests for survival in the state Assembly polls,the Shiv Sena is now turning to its ailing but star campaigner,party supremo Bal Thackeray,for help. The party has launched a campaign wherein it will call up cadres and office bearers and play a recorded message of the Sena chief on the phone. In the half-a-minute-long clip,the party patriarch whose son and successor,Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray,is seeing estranged cousin Raj Thackeray of the MNS snap at his heels,calls on party workers to make sure that the Sena is elected to power.
Sena office bearers said they were playing the clip to the cadres,who,in turn,were playing it to people or circulating it via mobile clips and email. We are getting huge number of requests for the DVDs of the clips. Everyone likes to hear Balasahebs voice, said an office bearer.
Jai Maharashtra,my brothers,sisters and mothers,Maharashtra has faced problems several times,but now they are being felt more intensely. This is the season of elections. This time,vote in a united manner and elect the Shiv Sena with a thumping majority,this is my aadesh (order) to you. I am confident that you will work with vigor and not rest,not sit back without winning this fort and keeping it intact. Jai Hind,Jai Maharashtra, says the Sena chief in the clip,which the party hopes will energise its workers after its defeat in Mumbai,Thane and Nashik in the LS polls,thanks to a MNS induced vote split.
In another two-and-a-half minute long clip,Thackeray calls on voters to show unity and points out that despite attempts being made to breach the Senas fort in the past,the bastion had not developed cracks because of this unity.
In a way,we have managed to take Balasaheb to the people, said Sena Rajya Sabha MP and spokesperson Sanjay Raut. The party has also recorded an interview of the Sena chief by Sudhir Gadgil and ensured publicity for it through the media and uploaded it on the Internet. The customary pre-poll interview given by Thackeray to the Sena mouthpiece Saamna has also appeared in print.