In a major break from tradition, the Shiv Sena has decided to field Aaditya Thackeray — son of party President Uddhav Thackeray — in the forthcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections. He will contest the Worli constituency in Central Mumbai.

Ever since the formation of the Shiv Sena by Balasaheb Thackeray in June 1966, none of the members of the Thackeray family has ever contested an election or held a public position.

Uddhav Thackeray’s estranged cousin and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray had announced in 2014 to fight the State Assembly elections but later dropped the plan. If Aaditya Thackeray wins the election, he will be the first member of the family to hold an elected position.

The family directly controls the party but the day-to-day affairs of the government are the responsibility of the senior party leaders. The Worli constituency is regarded as a safe seat for the party given the large Maharashtrian vote base. The seat is currently held by Shiv Sena MLA Sunil Shinde.

Over the last 10 years, the 29-year-old Aaditya Thackeray has been groomed by the family for political leadership. He is currently the chief of the party’s youth wing.

Addressing a rally at Worli on Monday, Aaditya Thackeray said he was not contesting to become an MLA or the Chief Minister of Maharashtra but to fulfil the dreams of the people of the State.

He said that the people of Maharashtra loved both Balasaheb and Uddhav Thackeray and in the last few days, he, too, had received their love.

In July, Aaditya Thackeray had launched a State-wide Jan Ashirwad Yatra to thank the electorate for their support in the Lok Sabha polls and to seek their backing for the upcoming Assembly elections.