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Overlap Political

War Of The Poses: Hindutva, Marathi Manoos And The Legacy Of Bal Thackeray

Raj and Uddhav Thackeray have been hostile to each other for decades, but slowly, the Maharashtra CM appears to be pulling away from his mercurial cousin in public esteem

The founder: Bal Thackeray funeral procession Photo: Amit Haralkar

On June 15, when Aaditya Thackeray visited Ayodhya with senior Shiv Sena leaders, he was sending a message to the BJP that his party had not abandoned the Hindutva plank. The visit was significant in more ways than one. Not only was it an attempt to convince its vote bank that Shiv Sena remains the sole custodian of the legacy of Aad­itya’s grandfather, founder Balasaheb Thackeray, but also to tell Aad­itya’s uncle Raj Thack­eray, the chief of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) that the Shiv Sena could match his attempts to appropriate the party’s legacy.

Though Raj too was scheduled to visit Ayodhya on June 10, the BJP’s opposition to it made him cancel it. Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, a BJP MP from Kaiserganj in Uttar Pradesh, had not only oppo­sed the visit, but had also demanded a public apology from the MNS chief for humiliating Nor­th Ind­ians in Maharashtra. Raj had also wanted to meet Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditya­n­ath, a request staunchly turned down by the sta­te BJP unit. Given the politics of one-upmanship bet­ween the Shiv Sena and the MNS, it is an adv­antage of sorts for the former, said sources.

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