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Uddhav Begins Poll Rehearsal, Maharashtra Assembly election 2015, Maharashtra polls, Uddhav Thackeray , Shiv Sena,Maharashtra political election news

Uddhav Begins Poll Rehearsal, Maharashtra Assembly election 2015, Maharashtra  polls, Uddhav Thackeray , Shiv Sena,Maharashtra political election news

It seems Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has begun preparations for his biggest political test after the Maharashtra Assembly election had broken his dream to rule the state last year.

Transport Minister Diwakar Raote’s stand that auto-rickshaw permits will be issued only to those who speak Marathi indicates that Uddhav will exploit the Sena’s favourite son-of-the-soil theory.

Raote has announced that one lakh auto permits will be issued in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) alone. Maharashtra has a law since the Congress regime that stipulates that preference be given to locals in transport permits and industrial jobs. However, the timing of Raote’s move is clearly political. It should be viewed in the backdrop of the state’s current political scenario and the forthcoming elections in MMR.

The largely non-vegetarian Marathi-speaking people are upset with the BJP for imposing restrictions on their diet habits. And, there is a growing fear among them that the BJP will first change their menu and later, their address; the middle-class Marathi-dominated areas in MMR believe the government is not serious about redeveloping dilapidated chawls but has laid the red carpet to big shot non-Marathi developers for building housing complexes. Uddhav has learned from his late father how to capitalise on the emotions of the sulking middle class.

 

On the one hand, he is passing the buck to the BJP for the unrest among the middle class, blaming it for throwing its weight behind non-Marathis. On the other, he is luring his traditional voters with job assurances via schemes like rickshaw permits.

In MMR, elections to three major civic bodies, Kalyan-Dombivili, Thane and Mumbai, are due between November, 2015 and February, 2017. It is clear that the BJP and the Shiv Sena will contest separately. Uddhav is simply drawing the lines for the battle in which his arch rival will be the BJP, not the Congress or his estranged cousin Raj Thackeray.

It will be a Herculean task for Uddhav to retain the party’s 25-year-old rule in India’s richest civic body, Mumbai, as the BJP has emerged as a strong force in the Maximum City. Failure will be considered a death warrant and victory, a mandate to dominate. Clearly, Uddhav does not want to be ill-prepared.

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