Shiv Sena after Bal Thackeray may not be the same ever
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In his lifetime, Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray played an important role in shaping Maharashtra's politics. His absence, and the resulting flux, will play an equally seminal role in remodeling the state's political landscape.
In the immediate future, Thackeray's son Uddhav will have to perform out of his skin to keep the restless flock of Shiv Sainik's under his command. Analysts claim that some of them could make a switch to the far more aggressive patronage of Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. "The middle rung leadership of Shiv Sena is ambitious. They will need someone who will be able to provide them strong political patronage. Uddhav, due to his personality and recently due to his health, is not in a position to do that. In view of the 2014 elections, it will be very difficult for Uddhav to keep his flock from scattering," Head of Mumbai University's Department of Civics and Politics Surendra Jondhale said.
Many blame Uddhav's predicament for his failure to identify himself with any political cause. "Bal Thackeray had a legacy of speaking in political idioms and associating himself with causes that endeared him to people. Uddhav he is just carrying forward a legacy and has not been able to link himself to any cause. Due to this he has not been able to carve his own political space," Jondhale added.
With 2014 elections fast approaching, there is a growing fear that many disgruntled Sainik's affected by Uddhav's corporate style of functioning could hitch their stars to the MNS bandwagon. A section of political players, however, also feel that rather than cannibalizing on the Sena Raj Thackeray's MNS could actually join hands with the Sena and form a synergetic relationship. "It will be near impossible that there will be a merger of the Sena and the MNS. However, I see a probability of a synergetic relationship between the two where they could be part a grand opposition alliance and work out a seat sharing formula similar to the Congress-NCP," a prominent BJP leader in the state who did not wished to be named said.