Former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi feels Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has inherited the streak of a "benevolent dictator" from his father, late Bal Thackeray even as he dismissed the "perception" that he has been sidelined in the party.
"Yes, of course. It is the style of a benevolent dictator. That was Balasaheb's style. Uddhavji has also adopted the same style," Joshi, veteran Sena leader and former Maharashtra chief minister, told PTI in an interview here.
Asked about the perception that he has been sidelined in the Sena for the last few years, Joshi said, "There is no such perception. I have been active. I do my work."
To a query on what he thought was the major change in the style of functioning of the party when late Thackeray founded it in 1966, Joshi said, "the main leader is changed now. Balasaheb Thackeray was the main leader. Now, Uddhavji Thackeray is the main leader."
On Uddhav's leadership style, Joshi said, "He is always ready to reply to any question. I have heard his press conferences and heard him speaking to VIPs. I found he is open-minded."
Asked if the strong 'connect' late Thackeray had with grassroot Shiv Sainiks was missing now, Joshi said, "No man becomes a leader unless he has a connection with the common worker. Uddhavji also mixes with different leaders, office bearers and does his work."
Asked if Sena has digressed from the path late Thackeray chose, Joshi said, "The path is now extended. New things are being addressed by the leaders. So is the case with Shiv Sena."
"The Sena is also trying to do its best. In the last election, Uddhav Thackeray did very good work. He went to a number of places and got Sena the highest number of seats it has secured so far in Assembly elections."
"I would have been very happy if that would have happened," Joshi said, when asked if he felt that a Sena CM should have been in place after the October 15 Assembly polls last year, had the party played its cards right.
Asked if Sena will continue to be a strong organisation, Joshi said "Sena is bound to prosper."
When pointed out that Sena was the Big Brother and BJP the junior partner when he was the chief minister during 1995-99, Joshi said "In the country, one incident happens and the party reaches (becomes) the topmost party.
"Sometimes, the judgement of the main leader is important... My personal opinion is that the top leader should give much more work to his juniors and he should concentrate on expansion of the party," Joshi said.
To a query on the perception that not all in the Sena agreed to the party entering into a power sharing arrangement with BJP after the polls, " Joshi said, "I was in complete agreement."
Joshi, who founded a successful business empire, the Kohinoor Group, has published a book, which he says will serve as a guide of sorts for youth who want to do business.
"I have written the book because I want Maharashtrians to become businessmen," he said.