Elevation of Milind Narvekar, the controversial personal assistant of Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, as party secretary, may have raised eyebrows in political circle, but it is not new in politics as leader’s personal assistant gradually entered into the politics and occupy the space. The trend is not new as earlier, ex-minister and leader of NCP Dilip Walse-Patil was PA to NCP leader Sharad Pawar, MLA and ex-mayor of Mumbai Sunil Prabhu was personal assistant of Shiv Sena leader Gajanan Kirtikar, MLA Amit Satam was a very close aid and PA to BJP leader late Gopinath Munde.
When Narvekar elevated as a secretary, many Shiv Sainiks said that the direct connection between Shiv Sena chief and the Sena members will now end completely. Narverkar’s role in the party and his interference in party policy was not accepted by the leaders. But there was no other way to contact the party chief. So now party leaders have no other option but to accept Narvekar’s promotion.
Narvekar became Uddhav’s personal assistant in 1993-94. According to Shiv Sena sources, he was responsible for screening visitors to the Thackeray’s residence at Shivaji Park where the family lived when Matoshree was being renovated. Evidently, he used that experience effectively.
Apparently, he gained a stronghold in the party and became one of the most powerful leaders in Shiv Sena.
Narvekar’s interference in party politics and decision disturbed many leaders including MNS Chief Raj Thackeray and ex-chief minister Narayan Rane. Raj Thackeray, Rane and former minister and leader of Nationalist Congress Party Bhaskar Jadhav quit Sena only because of Narvekar. After quitting party both the leaders blamed Narvekar for their exit, but nothing has happened.
Even Mohan Rawle, a five-time Sena MP who was expelled from the party also accused Narvekar of his exit. But nothing perturbed Narvekar and he continues to remain an enigmatic figure in political circles. Tall and fair, he is often seen on TV news channels, walking a few steps behind Uddhav or standing behind him at public functions or press conferences, as also a man constantly speaking on his mobile phone.
Elevation of PAs in different parties
NCP leader Dilip Walse-Patil is another example. He is known to be a close associate of party president Sharad Pawar. His father being an active politician and MLA from Ambegaon (Pune), leadership has been instilled in him since childhood. He learnt his early lessons in active politics as a PA to Sharad Pawar, the Maratha strongman, he is still one of Pawar’s highly trusted lieutenants. He took on Kisanrao Bankhele in Ambegaon in 1990 to become an MLA for the first time and is currently serving the people of Maharashtra for a sixth consecutive term.
Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu
Another man is MLA Sunil Prabhu from Shiv Sena. Prabhu started his career in 1992 as a personal assistant to a senior Sena leader and MP Gajanan Kirtikar, until 1997. Kirtikar insisted Prabhu to contest civic election from Arey Colony and he elected as corporator in Mumbai civic body. Subsequently, he went on to win three civic elections. However, Prabhu has been voted as the best orator in the civic house on several occasions. He is known for his powerful speeches, especially on financial issues. He served as a leader of the house in BMC for six years. He was mayor of Mumbai from 2012 to 2014.
BJP MLA Amit Satam
BJP MLA Amit Satam from Andheri was also a personal assistant to BJP leader late Gopinath Munde. He is the pioneer of LED street lights in Mumbai. Satam was elected as a corporator from Andheri in 2012. Before that, he was working as a close aid of late Gopinath Munde. He contested civic elections in 2005 and 2007 but lost against Congress candidate. As a close aide to Munde, he was always offered ticket from BJP even after losing the seat.
He was working in Andheri-west as BJP district president and finally won the election. As a corporator he went on hunger strike for 145 days against civic officials to install LED street lights in Mumbai. He first raised the issue of LUX level of the city.