Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Maha’ CM Eknath Shinde plans to set up separate Sena Bhavan

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Eknath Shinde, the new chief minister of Maharashtra, has chosen to establish his own Sena Bhavan in the centre of Mumbai, close to the actual Sena Bhavan, which was constructed in the 1970s, despite being in the peculiar position of leading a party-less faction and claiming to be the “original” Shiv Sena.

Dadar and the Shiv Sena are naturally connected. It is where the party’s headquarters, known as “Shiv Sena Bhavan,” is located. The organisation was founded there in 1966 in the founder Bal Thackeray’s home on Ranade Road.

With Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and “Raobahadur” S.K. Bole, the Thackeray family’s patriarch and Bal Thackeray’s father, ‘Prabodhankar’ Keshav Sitaram Thackeray, who was a longtime resident of the precinct, initiated the Navratri festivities at Dadar in 1926.

This signalled the start of the festival’s public celebration in Maharashtra. Uddhav Thackeray, the leader of the Shiv Sena, and his siblings attended Balmohan Vidyamandir in Dadar for their education.

Even while the Supreme Court and the Election Commission of India (ECI) continue to consider it, Shinde, who asserts to speak for the “genuine” Shiv Sena, has urged his Mahim MLA Sada Sarvankar to look for a new headquarters. According to a senior MP from the Shinde camp, they are considering two or three options, including a structure next to and across from the current Sena Bhavan.

For a while, a structure situated behind the enormous Kohinoor Square was also a possibility.

The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), another Sena offshoot, has its headquarters beside the Shiv Sena Bhavan in Matoshri Towers in Dadar.

The Shinde group is creating its own “shakhas” to imitate the Shiv Sena’s local branch in addition to a new headquarters to compete with Sena Bhavan.

The foundation of the party organisation in Mumbai is the shakhas, which are located in each municipal ward. It enables party leaders to establish relationships with both their core and auxiliary supporters, particularly those who reside in slums, chawls, and lower- and middle-class group housing.

These shakhas also assist to forge a bond between the Shiv Sena and the larger society by facilitating communication between party members and other branches of government, such as the police and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

The American political scientist Mary Fainsod Katzenstein, who was among the first critics of the Shiv Sena, has written on the significance of these shakhas, which planned events that offered party members “real material rewards.”

To engage with the Sena’s core supporters before the BMC elections, which are either scheduled for later this year or early in 2023, Eknath Shinde is recreating this shakha system.

In the upcoming months, Sada Sarvankar stated that Shinde’s team will demonstrate its strength by constructing a shakha in each of Mumbai’s 227 wards.

Rahul Shewale, a dissident Sena MP from Mumbai South Central, launched the first shakha last week in Maharashtra Nagar in Mankhurd. The Shinde supporter stated, “We also want to announce our vibhag pramukhs (division chiefs) in Mumbai, followed by the shakha pramukhs. There are about two vibhag pramukhs for each of Mumbai’s six Lok Sabha constituencies, or 11 in all.

The Shiv Sena places a lot of importance on these division leaders; to be nominated for assembly seats or municipal elections, a candidate must have their endorsement.

Also Read: MLC Chandrashekhar Bawankule appointed as the BJP’s Maharashtra unit president

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