- Pitch for the prime minister’s post if a Third Front government comes to power in 2014
- Work in tandem with the Congress in Maharashtra despite differences to keep a hold on state politics
- Cut nephew Ajit Pawar’s growing clout
- Strengthen daughter Supriya Sule’s role in Maharashtra politics
- Maintain good relations with all parties, from the Left to the Right
Inevitably, the backlash happened. Veteran Shiv Sena leader and former Maharashtra CM Manohar Joshi was booed off the stage at the party’s first Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park after Bal Thackeray’s death. Front-row Sainiks shouted slogans against him until he finally left the dais. And no leader, Uddhav Thackeray or anyone else, tried to pacify the crowd. Joshi was facing the ire of the Sainiks for an ill-timed, strongly worded comment he had made on Uddhav’s leadership skills. In time-honoured Maratha guerrilla style, he has since retired to his Konkan house.
For someone who’s served the Sena for 40 years, been one of Balasaheb’s closest aides and has family business ties with the voluble party renegade Raj Thackeray, could the pending memorial to the late leader be such an emotional issue? Was the booing of the Sainiks just a spontaneous outburst? No, and no again.
It boils down to two issues, brewing for awhile now—whether to give a Lok Sabha ticket in 2014 for 75-year-old Joshi (vis-a-vis a growing demand to prop up a young leader like Rahul Shewale), which is being played out in the context of new bossman Uddhav’s need to establish supremacy in the Sena. “This has been going on for many days now,” says Suhas Palshikar, a...