Uddhav takes over as Sena president
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National executive amends party constitution to create new post.
Uddhav Thackeray became the first president of Shiv Sena Wednesday after the national executive amended party constitution to create the new post.
Uddhav had been heading the party as executive president since 2003.
"We amended party constitution to create the president post. Election to the new post was held as per election commission (EC) norms and Uddhav Thackeray was unanimously elected," senior Sena leader Subhash Desai said.
The elevation comes exactly 10 years after Uddhav was appointed Sena executive president at a party conclave in Mahabaleshwar in January 2003.
The crown, however, sits uneasy. After the demise of Sena 'pramukh' Bal Thackeray, who made sure Uddhav did not face many hurdles, this will be a testing time for the president.
Sena is riddled with dissent and many leaders are reportedly waiting to desert it.
Senior leaders, however, exuded confidence. "Under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray, Sena will emerge with flying colours in the 2014 assembly polls.
"You have seen what happened to people who quit the party — none has been able to make a profound impact. Sainiks stand united behind Uddhav Thackeray," party MP Anil Desai said.
The party otherwise made no major organisational changes but for making the Aditya Thackeray-led Yuva Sena an affiliate.
This is the third Sena national executive meeting after the party was recognised by EC in 1988.
Sena started the exercise in 2003 after EC lambasted it for not holding elections and there were allegations the Wednesday election was to escape EC censure. At the executive, Sena reieterated its hardline Hindutva agenda.
"People are speaking the language of finishing Hindus in their homeland. Minorities are demanding reservations. They want to be included in the army and police. In these circumstances, only Shiv Sena can represent feelings of true patriots," it said.