Importance of Thane seat for Shinde Sena | India News

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THANE: With the discussions for remaining Lok Sabha seats sharing formula entering its final stages and the announcements to be made soon, the anxiety for the Eknath Shinde led Shiv Sena regarding the Thane seat is no less than a nail biting experience, observers say.
The challenge – experts claim- is not just about countering the sympathy wave for the Thackerays who apparently could be a major concern.The Sena and Shinde will prominently also have to tactfully wrench the seat from the prying eyes of the local BJP cadre that wants to reclaim the constituency and then also placate the local NCP unit that has been subtly dropping hints of playing spoil sports in Sena turfs.
The Thane district has LS three seats of which presently, the Sena has the Kalyan seat won by Dr Shrikant Shinde to its credit while the Bhiwandi seat is held by BJP strongman Kapil Patil and Thane by UBT’s Rajan Vichare. While the nomination for the Bhiwandi seat has gone unopposed to the BJP, the Kalyan seat is also most likely to be fielded by junior Shinde leaving the challenge for the Thane seat.
Observers say that winning Thane seat in the first major elections after his ‘internationally acclaimed rebellion’ is a prestige issue for Sena and Shinde – as he has to firstly ensure his dominance is retained here and secondly prove that he can engineer victory without the Thackeray cover which will also elevate his bargaining power for a bigger share in all future polls.
One of the foremost concerns is likely to gauge and counter if the sympathy wave towards the Thackeray family following Shinde’s 2022 rebellion persists. The possibility of the MVA fielding UBT’s current MP Rajan Vichare could prove another concern considering he holds equal clout among the old time Sena grass root workers and Anand Dighe supporters. Not many Sena leaders would risk wanting to stand against the Dighe loyalist.
The simmering unrest in the Ajit Pawar led NCP team in Thane which has already been subtly dropping hints of tacitly playing spoilsport especially after Shinde aide Vijay Shivtare’s intent to step into the Baramati power circle also cannot be ignored, say experts. It may be noted that Ajit supporter and NCP spokesperson Anand Paranjape had bagged nearly 28% and come second in the 2019 polls and the Sena may not afford to upset them.
Meanwhile, the subtle but determined advances of the BJP whose grass root workers and leaders are silently nursing the intent to reclaim Thane may also prove to be a major hindrance. A prominent leader from the BJP said, “Four of the six Thane assembly seats that form the Thane LS constituency, majority are with the BJP which shows our dominance here. Thane was once our dominion and if our workers want us to contest this seat then it is justified.”
Justifying his claim, another activist pointed out how following opposition from activists from Kalyan constituency, there were talks of Dr Shrikant contesting the seat on BJP symbol. Likewise, speculations are also on if a prominent BJP leader may be asked to contest the seat using Shinde’s symbol which may indirectly reflect poorly on the Shinde camp if they fail to put up a formidable force to counter the UBT.
Further, the possibility of MNS entry in the NDA could possibly put the local Sena at unease in the future as experts claim that even if the Raj Thakeray presence helps the alliance sail through in the LS polls, the possibility of the MNS claiming more assembly presence here could possibly dilute the solo dominance of Shinde Sena in this predominantly Marathi speaking region.

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