Uddhav’s Dighe card to stem Shinde- The New Indian Express


Express News Service

MUMBAI:  Former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has appointed the nephew of late Thane strongman Anand Dighe, Kedar, as the head of the Shiv Sena’s district unit to counter Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s influence and claim over the Dighe legacy.

After parting ways with Uddhav, Shinde has claimed that he represents the real Shiv Sena. The CM has been using portraits of Balasaheb Thackeray and Anand Dighe in his office and on posters and banners.
In his speeches too, Shinde seeks to convince people by saying he is the real heir to Balasaheb Thackeray and Dighe.

By appointing 35-year-old Kedar Dighe as the Thane chief, Uddhav has shown that the real heir of Shinde’s mentor is with Shiv Sena. Dighe’s name carries a lot of political weight in Thane and its adjoining areas. Dighe died in a road accident in 2001. He had worked extensively to help Shiv Sena grow in the district. After his death, Shinde worked for the Sena in Thane and Palghar areas.

Kedar Dighe (left) with Uddhav Thackeray (Photo | Twitter)

Uddhav has also made Anita Birje as his deputy. She is a veteran Sainik and has not allowed Shinde to enter the Sena shakha in Thane. She has also worked with Anand Dighe. Kedar said his uncle always remained loyal to the Sena. “Shiv Sena has a long history of struggle. The Shiv Sainik is ready to bounce back with vigor. I will work hard and bring glorious days back to Sena. The exit of Shinde will not have much impact,” Kedar said.

Anand Dighe was a charismatic leader in Thane. Shinde often invokes Dighe’s legacy to justify his revolt against Thackeray. By fielding Dighe’s nephew opposite Shinde on the latter’s home turf, Thackeray has tried to counter the narrative of the CM. Though Kedar is a political novice and has never played significant role in Shiv Sena so far, the Sena leadership wants to use him in the battle of perception with Shinde who is posing himself as a common worker fighting against Uddhav who is at the helm because of his relation to the founder.

A skilled organiser, Dighe built the Shiv Sena organisation in Thane in 1980s and ’90s and dominated the politics of the district till he died. He encouraged a number of party workers from working-class or middle-class backgrounds, groomed them and built a strong second-rung leadership.

Shinde was one of them. Dighe died in an accident as his vehicle crashed with a truck coming from another direction in 2001. His following among the Sena workers was such that when he passed away while being treated at Singhania Hospital in Thane, top Sena leaders including Uddhav had to be moved out of Thane to prevent any untoward incident as the irate workers went berserk. 

The tussle for thane

By appointing 35-year-old Kedar Dighe as Thane Shiv Sena chief, party president Uddhav Thackeray has tried to show that the real heir of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s mentor, Anand Dighe, is with the Sena. The Dighe surname carries a lot of political weight in Thane and its adjoining areas. Anand Dighe, who had died in a road accident in 2001, had worked extensively to help the party grow in Thane district. After his death, Shinde worked for the Sena in Thane district and Palghar area. The party faced a huge vacuum in the region after Shinde’s exit.



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