Mumbai: The Shiv Sena turns 50 on 19 June. The Sena’s current president, Uddhav Thackeray, was only six years old when his father Bal Keshav Thackeray founded the organization on 19 June 1966. It was Bal Thackeray’s father Keshav, popularly known as Prabodhankar (one who creates awareness) Thackeray for his rationalist and reformist work, who gave the name Shiv Sena to the newborn outfit. The ‘Shiv’ here stands not for Lord Shiva but for Shivaji Maharaj, the Maharashtra icon, and ‘Sena’ means army. Thackeray’s stated aim was to build up a movement for Mumbai’s native Marathi people and ensure that the job opportunities that Mumbai’s economic growth was creating would go to Marathi job aspirants. In Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena is the father of the politics of the “son of the soil" school.

In its 50-year journey, the Shiv Sena has often justified its title by making violence, threatened or carried out, the centrepiece of its working ideology.

On 19 June, the Sena will hold a big show in Mumbai’s suburb of Goregaon to celebrate its golden jubilee. Uddhav Thackeray and his 26-year-old son Aditya will address party cadre gathered from all over the state.

When Bal Thackeray spoke at Shiv Sena’s first-ever Vijaya Dashmi rally on 30 October 1966, he berated politics, terming it “eczema" and said politics would have only 20% role in Sena’s activities and that the remaining 80% work would be social. On Sunday, Uddhav won’t have this luxury of berating politics from the high pedestal of an outsider, writes Prakash Akolkar, senior journalist and political editor of Marathi daily Sakal, in his column on the Sena’s 50-year journey. Akolkar, who has written a historical account of the Shiv Sena called Jai Maharashtra, which is Sena’s favourite slogan, says the current Sena leadership “cannot live in the past and needs to think of the future now".

The Shiv Sena timeline

19 June 1966: Formed in Mumbai by Bal Thackeray. The name Shiv Sena was given by Bal Thackeray’s father Keshav Thackeray.

1967: Makes a spectacular electoral debut in Mumbai’s satellite township of Thane by winning 17 out of 40 seats in the civic polls.

1968: Arrives politically in Mumbai by winning 42 of the total 121 seats in the civic elections.

1969: Bal Thackeray gets arrested for the Sena’s participation in the border dispute with Karnataka. Seven-day violence in Mumbai killed 69 people.

1970: Shiv Sena workers arrested for the murder of Communist rival and legislator Krishna Desai in 1970 in Mumbai.

1970: Sena candidate Wamanrao Mahadik becomes the party’s first MLA, winning an assembly bypoll in 1970 from Paral constituency in Mumbai, necessitated by Desai’s murder.

1975: Bal Thackeray supports the Emergency imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

1984: Forms an alliance with the BJP for the Lok Sabha elections.

1985: Wins 75 seats in Mumbai’s civic polls and assumes power at Mumbai’s municipal corporation.

1989: Forms a state-level alliance with the BJP for assembly polls.

1989: Enters Lok Sabha winning four seats from Maharashtra in the 1989 general elections.

1990: Wins 52 seats in Maharashtra assembly polls, Manohar Joshi becomes the leader of opposition.

1992: Loses Mumbai municipal corporation elections to the Congress.

1995: Wins power for the first time in Maharashtra in alliance with the BJP. The Shiv Sena wins 73 seats in Maharashtra. Manohar Joshi of the Sena becomes the chief minister.

1995-96: Indicted by the Srikrishna Commission for its role in the Mumbai riots of December 1992-January 1993 post the Babri mosque demolition in Ayodhya.

1997: Wins back power at Mumbai civic body.

1999: Loses Maharashtra to Congress-NCP in assembly elections.

2003: Uddhav Thackeray becomes the executive chief of the Sena.

2005: Uddhav’s younger cousin Raj Thackeray leaves the Sena and forms Maharashtra Navnirman Sena.

2004 and 2009: Failed to win Maharashtra from Congress-NCP in 2004 and 2009 assembly elections.

2012: Retains power at Mumbai’s civic body, winning 75 seats.

November 2012: Bal Thackeray, 86, dies. Uddhav soon becomes party president.

May 2014: In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, wins 18 seats in Maharashtra, and becomes part of the ruling NDA.

October 2014: In October 2014 assembly elections in Maharashtra, breaks alliance with the BJP and wins 63 seats contesting independently. Post-election, supports the BJP and becomes part of the ruling alliance.

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