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Revisiting Uddhav Thackeray's journey - from a photographer to a politician

Revisiting Uddhav Thackeray's journey - from a photographer to a politician

Politics is an unpredictable field. One may come across two arch-enemies becoming friends for a moment, while the staunch opponents embrace each other. Call it luck or hard work or destiny, the most-reputed member from the Thackeray family, who had dominated the political scene in Maharashtra for the last several decades and did not hold power in the state, was soon sitting on the Chief Minister's post. Many of us would be able to recollect this shocking event which happened just over a year ago, where Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP formed a government in Maharashtra in the name of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray became the Chief Minister of this government for the first time ever.

Soon question arose about the ideal Shiv Sena ideologies and what would happen to the party which was once formed by the renowned and respected Balasaheb Thackeray? Shiv Sena, on November 28, 2019, was also brought to the forefront of power in Maharashtra, and Uddhav Thackeray, who once had to endure the onslaught of a leader who did not understand politics in Maharashtra, had now developed a new identity, not only in the state but also in the country as a shrewd leader.

Over the last year, the party led by him has seen several ups and downs, and here's a look at his remarkable career from photographer to CM:

The leader with a lens

Before entering politics, Uddhav Thackeray was a professional photographer, and one of the leading professionals in the country. Even after entering politics, he continued his interested in photography. However, the busy schedule made it difficult for them to devote time to his passion. Through his two famous books 'Maharashtra Desha' and 'Pahava Vitthal', Uddhav Thackeray made a fascinating vision of Maharashtra's geographical and cultural heritage to the whole world. Apart from that, his exhibitions of photographs taken by him have also been appreciated on a regular basis.

Entry into politics

Uddhav Thackeray was occasionally seen at political events and did not pay much attention to the local politics (responsibility for the 2002 municipal elections). He was also cautiously away from active politics till 2003. However, the Shiv Sena's convention held at Mahabaleshwar turned his career upside down, whereby, in the absence of Balasaheb Thackeray, Shiv Sena leaders and office bearers elected Uddhav Thackeray as the working President. Several years later, even today, he holds the position of Shiv Sena's working president. Balasaheb Thackeray, who was opposed to dynastic rule, raised questions on this choice in the presence of leaders and office-bearers. But after everyone agreed to this decision, Uddhav Thackeray officially decided to enter politics.

Test cut

Ever since Uddhav Thackeray took over as the working president of Shiv Sena, the politics of factionalism in the party has come to an end. Although Balasaheb's old-fashioned leaders supported Uddhav Thackeray, the ambitions of already dominant leaders in the Shiv Sena, such as Narayan Rane, Raj Thackeray and Smita Thackeray, also began to rise during this period. However, in 2005, Narayan Rane finally switched to Congress after several accusations and allegations which included interference in the decision-making process, factionalism, controversy and so on. In all these occasions, Uddhav Thackeray, without letting go of restraint, gradually strengthened his position by holding the hands of Shiv Sena leaders and his office-bearers.

The Extension

Raj Thackeray's charisma and Uddhav Thackeray's straightforward personality were compared a lot in the early stages. During the 2009 assembly elections, Shiv Sena suffered a lot due to MNS' aggressive role in politics and learning from this incident, Uddhav Thackeray came up with the idea of attracting not only Marathi voters but also Gujarati and Hindi speaking voters in Maharashtra. Yesteryears' 'Me Mumbaikar' campaign was one of them, and whether it was the presence of Shiv Sena leaders in Chhatpuja or hoardings in Gujarati-dominated areas, the credit for making Shiv Sena's promising role went to Uddhav Thackeray. Besides this, Uddhav Thackeray has also shown the courage to expand his party by contesting elections outside Maharashtra by taking a stand from time to time on the issues of Hindutva, Kashmir-Pakistan and Ram Mandir.

Clever politicians

Times changed, Despite several efforts, things did not change for Sena, and it took five years under the pressure of BJP leadership. Numerous attempts were made by the ruling party to discredit the efforts whereby rallies and protests were held to criticise the work, but the Shiv Sena did not get affected with the same. While some strong alliances were broken, some were reconciled, but in all these times, Uddhav Thackeray very cleverly tried his best to keep Shiv Sena at the centre of power. In the Assembly elections held in Maharashtra in 2019, not only all the political analysts and leaders but also the Shiv Sena's ally BJP missed all the hints until the last date.

The Shiv Sena-BJP alliance got a majority in the state, but the Sena lagged behind in terms of seats. Party members did not rejoice and there was no unanimous decision taken regarding power. Eventually, Shiv Sena leaders broke ties with the BJP, and Uddhav Thackeray kept himself aloof from the conversations and talks. Decisions were not taken with proper strategy, but on the other hand, he also succeeded in negotiating ties with the Congress and NCP.

After days of chaos and conversations, Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP, who once were arch-enemies aligned themselves with each others' ideologies and formed the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state. Questions were raised regarding the previously set Shiv Sena ideologies by Balasaheb Thackeray, but Uddhav Thackeray then answered these questions very competently with his political skills. Now, he had a big responsibility to respond and tackle the attacks of the opposition BJP, by balancing the crisis created by Coronavirus and work on the collapsed economy and putting the three-party government in limelight.

Till date, Uddhav Thackeray has run this government through difficult situations. Throughout the year,  BJP leaders have predicted that the alliance wouldn't last and the government will collapse. However, Uddhav Thackeray, from the initial days has got enough support and sympathy from the people. But if we want to get Maharashtra out of this difficult situation and create our own place in the politics he will have to use all his strength. For the rest, only time can tell about the alliance. 

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