In the epic battle of Mahabharata, members of the same family were on opposing sides.
We can see something similar in Mumbai politics now.
The battle between Eknath Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray is causing a divide in prominent political families. Already, top top leaders have seen their kin cross over to the other side.
Earlier last month, Gajanan Kirtikar, the Member of Parliament from Mumbai, decided to side with Eknath Shinde.
Kirtikar is a senior leader. He was a strongman of the Uddhav Thackeray camp but while he decided to abandon Uddhav for Shinde, his son, Amol Kirtikar, decided to stay back with Uddhav and Aaditya.
Amol Kirtikar is an officer bearer of the Yuva Sena, which Thackeray's son Aaditya leads. Amol spoke aggressively in support of Uddhav in a recent rally held by Aaditya in the western suburbs of Mumbai, which Gajanan Kritikar represents. Both the father and son now represent two different factions of the Shiv Sena.
A bigger surprise came on Monday, 13 March, when Bhushan Desai joined hands with Eknath Shinde and the Shiv Sena.
Bhushan Desai is the son of veteran Uddhav camp leader Subhash Desai, Subhash since day one has been with Uddhav.
Here one cannot say that Bhushan abandoned the Uddhav camp, because he himself never was an active participant in it.
And yet, why is Bhushan Desai siding with Eknath Shinde making headlines?
Subhash Desai is one of those rare leaders who was made a minister by Uddhav Thackeray in 2014, in the government led by Devendra Fadnavis, and then again when Uddhav Thackeray became the CM, in 2019.
Subhash Desai is seen standing next to Uddhav Thackeray in every public meeting.
Hence, his son abandoning the Uddhav camp is big news.
The senior Desai tried to distance himself from the decision of his son, and also claimed that his son had never been part of active politics and hence his move won't impact the Uddhav camp.
But what was left unsaid was that when Subhash Desai was a minister, his son was believed to be the most powerful person for all works related to the Subhash's ministry.
In fact, BJP leaders would themselves allege in closed-door meetings that it was Bhushan Desai who was running the show.
Now, with his move, the BJP which wanted to politically target Subhash Desai would have to go soft.
For Eknath Shinde, Bhushan Desai's move may not mean much when it comes to ground-level politics, but it goes a long way in creating the impression that the younger lot of erstwhile united Shiv Sena leaders are now moving towards Eknath Shinde.
Observers say that the team Shinde is now focussing to bring in leaders from the families of leaders of the Uddhav camp and the above two examples could be replicated in many other cities and with many other leaders.
Younger politicians see a future with Shinde. Obviously, a prime reason for this is that he has power by his side. At the same time, the way Uddhav Thackeray is reportedly running the show has left many senior politicians unhappy.
The recent incident include the Gaumutra jibe at BJP and the event which preceded the arrest of Sainath Durge, a close aide of Aaditya Thackeray in a case of a morphed video targetting a women leader of the Shinde camp.
Every leader wants their future to be safe, and moves accordingly. While the tussle in Maharashtra awaits a full electoral contest, there is no denying that the Uddhav camp is leaking leaders and support.
Varun Singh, is a Mumbai-based journalist and tracks politics and other important news from the western region of the country. Varun has spent close to 18 years in journalism.
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