Shiv Sainiks want Uddhav to rein in the second rung

Workers in Shiv Sena shakhas seem to be keen to see their party executive president Uddhav Thackeray rein in the ambitious second rung leaders of the party who they believe are pursuing individual agenda.

Die-hard sainiks who wished to remain unnamed expressed deep anger at the manner in which the entire episode of Bal Thackeray memorial at Shivaji Park was handled by the party brass.

A senior Sena leader from Goregaon asked, "What was the purpose of conducting a night operation to remove the makeshift memorial? It could have been done more gracefully in full public view with attendance of the party leaders?"

Although back-room negotiations between Uddhav and chief minister Prithviraj Chavan for a memorial and a samadhi are still under way, politically it is a loss of face for the Sena leading to a simmering discontent amongst its MLAs and MLCs. One of them said, "Throughout the month, there was confusion over the memorial issue in absence of clear directions from the top."

According to a close aide of Uddhav, "Senior leaders Manohar Joshi and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut demanded a memorial at Shivaji Park without holding adequate consultations within the organisation."

The demand to rename Shivaji Park as Shiv Thirth was another mistake. These compounded the problems for Uddhav who was still in a state of mourning following the demise of his father and Sena chief Bal Thackeray.

Chavan seems to have prevailed over Uddhav on the memorial issue.

Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee headed by Manikrao Thackre came to his rescue by taking a hard stand on the renaming of Shivaji Park and memorial. MPCC spokesperson Sachin Sawant said, "We did not want to politicise the issue. But what is the logic of remaining of Shivaji Park."

The Congress gave a clever twist to the development to put the Sena on the dock when it argued, "How can Sena by demanding the renaming of Shivaji Park insult the great Maratha warrior whom they revered all these decades."

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