Uddhav looks set to return to Hindutva

Sena executive prez says Islamic fundamentalists top on party agenda

Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray is espousing the Hindutva cause that helped his father, the late Bal Thackeray, lead the Sena-BJP combine to power in 1999.

The increasing use of the word 'Hindutva' in Uddhav's public outings after his father's death has not gone unnoticed by political analysts.

In a Sunday interview to party mouthpiece Saamana, he said many people now agreed with the ideas of Hindutva and that the fight against Bangladeshi intruders and Islamic fundamentalist was on top of party agenda.

"We will tread the path espoused by Balasaheb. Be it the fight of the bhoomiputra, pride of Marathi or the fight for Mumbai. In the context of the country, the issue of Hindutva, and the fight against Bangladesh intruders and Islamic fundamentalists," Uddhav said.

On Monday, he reiterated his Hindutva leanings at a public rally in Kolhapur and claimed the party would do all that it could to stop "hirva aatankwad" (Islamic terror).

Uddhav was once a proponent of changing the Sena image from a radical organisation limited to Marathis to a more inclusive one.

However, the absence of the charismatic Bal Thackeray and with cousin Raj's MNS breathing down his neck, he seems to have decided that sticking to the tried and tested formula of Hindutva will benefit him in the long run.

Uddhav is also under pressure to fill his father's shoes and keep the Sena's restless flock of second-rung leadership from deserting the party.

He seems to think that the resourceful use of the Hindutva plank will help him stabilise his control on the party.

"Uddhav's use of the Hindutva plank is a lame attempt to imitate Bal Thackeray's succesful campaign. He sees this issue as his party's monopoly and in the senior Thackeray's absence is trying to reclaim this issue," political analyst Surendra Jondhale said.

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