We may often have a certain image of a person in our mind, but that can be far from reality. This has happened with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray too.
When he took charge as the CM of state, his opponents within and outside the party were questioning his capabilities. Even the common man was doubtful about how he would handle and lead the state.
Uddhav is seen as a soft-spoken leader, and this particular quality of him created doubts especially with a tri-party coalition government. Today, Uddhav Thackeray has answered his critics through his work and leadership. Common public is now confident about him and sees an ideal chief minister in him. Those who opposed him on issues like Hindutva are appreciating his style of work. There is a need to understand how this has happened, and while doing so there is no necessity to become 'bhakts'.
Understanding the change in Uddhav's public image means to understand what qualities of him have been popular.
Maharashtra has witnessed many calamities and disasters like earthquakes, floods, droughts, bomb blasts etc. The then leadership has handled this crisis bravely and hence one would ask what is different with coronavirus outbreak and Uddhav's leadership? We must understand that coronavirus pandemic has put our economy and lives of people on a ventilator. This crisis is being handled by a man who has no prior administrative experience.
There is a difference between running a party and a government and that too during this unprecedented crisis. None had the experience of dealing with a pandemic nor did anyone have any advance preparations. Uddhav used his best weapon in this fight against COVID-19 that was of studying and understanding the problems.
Many officers, journalists have witnessed Uddhav's style of working. He started taking information from officers and medical experts about the coronavirus outbreak right from day one and still continues to do so. Uddhav likes to be updated about international developments like which country is employing which tactic, who is researching COVID-19 and many other things. This helps him while taking decisions in the state. He has completely involved himself in this battle against COVID-19.
Uddhav mostly works from his home that is the Matoshree bungalow. He discusses and coordinates with ministers, officers and other leaders through video conferencing and keeps a tab on the situation in the state.
He attends all the work-related calls during the entire day. He notes down all important information during any interaction and later instructs concerned officers or ministers to act upon it. During the migrant labourer's issue, Uddhav was in constant touch with important persons in the state.
Another unique quality of Uddhav is his way of communicating with the masses. Uddhav comes forward as the head of a family and addressed the public in a calm manner and simple language. He engages with the public through the news channels and Facebook live sessions. People connected with him because of his simplicity and genuineness. Even though Thackrey has been a target of trolls on social media, the common people have accepted him completely.
Uddhav kept the morale of the public high and also made them participate in the battle against COVID-19 by creating awareness amongst them. Many people criticised him for his decisions during the lockdown, but no one ever questioned his motive or honesty. While handling all this, he was also performing other duties expected of him as a Chief Minister. He was motivating his party workers by inquiring about them and entrusting them with responsibilities.
Uddhav's health was being taken care of and in turn, he was also taking care of the state and its subjects. When history will be written and especially the battle against coronavirus will be recorded, Uddhav's leadership and his attitude to lead from the front will be remembered, even by his opponents.