While cousins Uddhav and Raj battle it out in the political arena, the fourth generation of the Thackeray family will come face-to-face this month ahead of crucial civic polls in Mumbai and other cities in Maharashtra.
Amit Thackeray, son of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj, launched his Facebook page to interact with party workers. The 25-year-old is going to campaign for the party in at least 4 cities.
The MNS is fighting for relevance in these elections after it got routed in the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in 2014. Amit’s launch is aimed at attracting youth votes, which is also being wooed by Shiv Sena’s Aditya Thackeray.
Amit will be MNS’ “star campaigner”, MNS leader Shirish Sawant told the media. He is likely to carry out road shows in Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and Thane.
But the novice is unlikely to draw votes for his party, which is facing a credibility crisis. Raj Thackeray had soft-launched Amit during the 2014 elections, when he had held road shows in Mumbai, but didn’t speak much. Crowds gathered to see him, but that didn’t translate into votes.
His first Facebook post was in Marathi and the second one in English. In both his posts, he writes that he wants to “develop congenial relations” with “like-minded people”.
The Thackerays are known to be creative. While Raj Thackeray’s father was a music composer, Raj continued his uncle Bal Thackeray’s tradition of drawing caricatures. Now Amit, a commerce graduate from Ruparel College, has shared a sketch of his father that he has done.
Amit’s comparison with his 26-year-old cousin Aditya is inevitable. While Aditya, who is the president of the youth wing of the Shiv Sena, is more active on Twitter & Instagram, Amit has chosen Facebook. Aditya tweets mostly in English; Amit has preferred to write more in Marathi so far.
Aditya joined politics in 2010, when he was 20. Amit is joining politics at the age of 25. For these years, although Amit would travel with Raj, he was fiercely protected by his father from the public and the media.
With the Shiv Sena ruling out an alliance and with the BJP getting aggressive, the path ahead for Amit Raj Thackeray will be very difficult. He is very unlikely to make any impact in the polls to be held on 21 February, but he will definitely draw a lot of attention.