Pune: Even after Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray's announcement to go solo in the forthcoming State assembly and Lok Sabha elections, there seems to be no preparedness in the party's city unit. Shiv Sena is still following Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the municipal corporation.
Last year, the party decided to distribute city's responsibility among two leaders. They appointed two former Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA) as city chief. Mahadev Babar was given the responsibility of four State assembly constituencies - Hadapsar, Wadgaonsheri, Khadakwasla and Cantonment, while Chandrakant Mokate took care of Kothrud, Shivajinagar, Parvati and Kasba constituencies.
In State assembly election in 2012, Shiv Sena candidate was in the second position in Wadgaonsheri constituency, while it lagged behind in the other five constituencies. Mahadev Babar was defeated by BJP candidate Yogesh Tilekar in Hadapsar constituency, which is Babar's home ground.
Mokate was far behind BJP candidate Medha Kulkarni, who is now MLA of Kothrud constituency. Babar has more supporters than Mokate.
Right now, the party has only two candidates for Assembly election - Mokate from Kothrud and Babar from Hadapsar. They both want to handle the city unit as well as their constituencies.
Since Thackeray's announcement, Shiv Sena has conducted only one agitation over the Empress Garden land issue last week. While speaking to Sakal Times, Mokate said, “We have started meeting people. We are conducting meetings at booth level. The party is protesting against the government's decision. People want change and we are ready to provide an alternative to them.”
On the other hand, one of the party members said, “There were many occasions where the party missed showing its presence. Development Plan (DP) issue, 24x7 water supply project, Shivsrushti, parking policy, riverfront development project, unemployment, were some of the issues which the party could have capitalised on. It shows there is no communication between the two chiefs. These are issues related to people. The party should show its independent identity right now.”
Party workers are happy with the decision to go solo, but they are also confused about how to handle the situation while enjoying power with BJP at the central, State and corporation level.