In his last public speech in 2012, Shiv Sena Chief Balasaheb Thackeray addressed Shiv Sena workers on Dussehra day via a video recording. At 86, he admitted that he had collapsed physically and appealed to the party cadre to hold steadfast. He insisted that he would not impose Uddhav or his son Aaditya on the party. He also asked workers to abandon the party if they felt that either Uddhav or Aaditya was being imposed on them. Balasaheb’s last line, spoken with a gasp was “You have looked after me. Look after Uddhav, look after Aaditya. Give importance to loyalty”. 

However, with recent political developments in the State, it seems that Balasaheb’s last words fell on deaf ears with the majority of Shiv Sena MLAs leaving Uddhav Thackeray and rallying behind the rebel leader Eknath Shinde. 

Within ten years of Balasaheb Thackeray’s death, Uddhav Thackeray has landed in the soup where he might not only lose the post of Chief Minister but also his control over the party. 

Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde strengthened his position by claiming that 40 out of 56 Shiv Sena MLAs are already with him in Guwahati and more will be joining. In this case, Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya and his handful of close confidants will remain with him. Shinde has already cleared his intentions by announcing that he is the leader of the Shiv Sena legislative party. 

With the support of the majority of Shiv Sena MLAs, Shinde’s faction might get recognition as Shiv Sena in the State legislature. Shinde and his supporters might also challenge Thackeray’s post as Shiv Sena chief and claim the party title and symbol. 

With BJP’s support, Shinde is all set to decimate Uddhav Thackeray and his family’s political existence.  

Shiv Sena MPs joining the revolt?

It is not just MLAs but also MPs who are showing an inclination to join the Shinde faction. Shiv Sena MP Bhavan Gawali from Washim has written a letter to Uddhav Thackeray asking him not to take action against the rebel leaders and “ understand” their feelings. Along with Gawali many other MPs might side with Shinde, according to Shiv Sena sources. 

On November 28, 2019, when Uddhav took oath as Chief Minister, it had been 53 years since his father founded Shiv Sena. As a mark of gratitude to the party and its followers, Uddhav had gone down on his knees on the stage. After two-and-half years, now his own people have brought him to his knees. 

‘Leaders are not Shiv Sena’

Though Uddhav has lost the confidence of his MLAs, a massive crowd milled around his residence Matoshree in Bandra in Mumbai on Wednesday night. Uddhav left the official CM residence and shifted back to Matoshree and thousands of Shiv Sainks accompanied him. 

“ Leaders are not Shiv Sena. Loyal Shiv Sainiks means Shiv Sena. It doesn’t matter who comes and goes we stand with Uddhav Thackeray. That’s what Balasaheb had told us” said women party workers speaking to media in Mumbai with teary eyes.