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Sun and son rise

Monday, February 18, 2019
By Prashant Hamine

The 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly election might well be known for the “Sun Rise” or “Generational Shift in Political Dynasties”. Taking the cue from the Congress Party's  move to introduce Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra into active electoral politics, every other political party, political dynasties seems to be toying with the idea of introducing their next generation of wannabe political dynasts into active politics. It might also see Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief and patriarch Sharad Pawar contesting Lok Sabha elections (now a Rajya Sabha MP from Maharashtra) to bolster the electoral fortunes of his Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). We might get to see the rise of the next generation of dynasts prominently in the NCP, Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

Already NCP chief and patriarch Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sulye, nephew Ajit Pawar are into active politics. Now, the next generation that includes Sharad Pawar's grandson Rohit Pawar and nephew Parth Pawar are more likely to take the plunge into active politics.

Leader of opposition in legislative assembly, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil (Congress) too is making his moves to introduce his son Sujay into active electoral politics. It is not that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which accuses rivals of dynasty politics, too has its fair share of dynasties – the Mahajan family (Poonam Mahajan), the Munde family (Pankaja & Pritam Munde), Santosh Danve (son of state BJP president Raosaheb Danve) and many more.

Taking the cue from the Congress and the NCP, the clamor within the Shiv Sena has begun to grow urging Yuva Sena president Aaditya Thackeray to take the plunge into active electoral politics. They want him to either contest the Lok Sabha or preferably the Vidhan Sabha (Assembly) elections so that he can keep a check on the activities of their party elected representatives in New Delhi or in Mumbai or Nagpur. The argument put forth by ardent Shivsainiks is that Aaditya Thackeray needs to take off some load of the burden of his father Sena president Uddhav Thackerays shoulders.

For some Sena leaders, Aaditya Thackeray is still learning the tricks of the trade. But for the past few years the Thackeray scion has been playing active role as far as matters of governance are concerned, especially in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) where the Sena rules the roost. Some of his notable, some controversial decisions include: launching open air gymnasiums, supporting rooftop parties, night life and food joints, introducing Penguins, introducing virtual classrooms and e-learning Tablets in BMC schools.

His grooming for the active political role began much before the 2014 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. The BJP blames the Thackeray scion for being one of the reasons for the breaking of the two decade old saffron alliance as its leaders (BJPs) did not take it kindly at having to negotiate with a young Turk who was not even of number of years they had been in politics. Though, thereafter the BJP almost gave the Sena a scare by running in almost close to grabbing power in 2017 BMC elections. As the Yuva Sena chief, Aaditya Thackeray and his young brigade have been known more for their exploits in dealing with student issues.

As against this, MNS president Raj Thackeray too is trying to introduce his son Amit to the electoral politics. Recently married, Amit Raj Thackeray is a relatively unknown face and a untried, untested political commodity. If he too does officially take the plunge into active electoral politics, the obvious comparison between Aaditya and Amit is bound to be made. If the two do take the plunge into active politics they will also break the Thackeray family tradition of not entering into active politics. Who amongst them will be the long race derby horse and make a mark for himself and carry on the family legacy, only time and people can tell.

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