Somehow I have always been traveling when Shiv Sena lands in trouble. I was busy relocating when Narayan Rane quit in a huff and later whopped Sena’s ass in Malvan. The wounds hadn’t healed yet when the ultimate ‘betrayal’ happened — a Thackeray clan member publicly voiced out his dissent and couple of weeks later quit dramatically much to the shock and dismay of loyal Sena fans. Raj Thackeray, Sena’s youth leader and expected heir quit the party that he literally was born in to. Citing reasons of frustration and humiliation within the ranks of the party, he went against the man whom he calls his ‘dievat’ (God). Although he hasn’t said anything harsh against his mentor Bal Thackeray, he has already burned bridges and a reconciliation that Manohar Joshi was hoping for (after all, he has vested business interests) didn’t materialize.
Frankly, I feel it is simply power play at work and nepotism at its best. Bal Thackeray who used to vehemently criticize the Gandhi family for promoting their so-called incapable heirs, he committed exactly the same mistake of promoting his own incompetent son. The Sena had experienced a mini-storm in the early nineties when Raj and Udhhav were rising stars. Luckily for him, Bal Thackeray resorted to Gandhian emotional tactics of threatening to resign as Sena President. Chhagan Bhujbal engineered a split in mid-nineties and the Sena never quite recovered from that.
Personally, I am happy that the Sena is being cut to size. Their high handed tactics of trying to act as Mumbai’s culture and moral police hurt the city more than anything else. The Sena surpassed all heights of corruption and Bal Thackeray ruled Mumbai with an iron fist and treated the city like his personal fiefdom. In his last days, he needed to see the downsizing of his party that he nurtured for almost 40 years. It simply proves that power corrupts and finally it is no one else but your own people who betray you. That should hurt more than anything else.