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Legacy battle: To take back Thane, Uddhav Thackeray pits Anand Dighe’s nephew against Shinde | Political Pulse News,The Indian Express

Anand Dighe was the Maharashtra CM's mentor. After he died in 2001, Shinde laid claim to his legacy and sidelined Kedar Dighe.

Eknath Shinde has often spoken of what he owes to his mentor Anand Dighe and recently even financed a Marathi movie called “Dharmaveer” that was based on the Shiv Sena strongman’s life. Now, his claim to Dighe’s legacy is under challenge from the Shiv Sena.

After Dighe’s death in 2001, the Maharashtra chief minister took control of the Shiv Sena in Thane district and built his base. Following the recent churn in the party caused by his rebellion, Shinde faces a challenge from his mentor’s nephew Kedar Dighe, 42, who was appointed the Shiv Sena’s Thane district head on Sunday by party president Uddhav Thackeray. On Tuesday, two days after the appointment, the Mumbai Police booked Dighe for allegedly threatening a 23-year-old woman who has accused his friend of rape.

Party insiders said Thackeray’s decision to field Kedar against Shinde is an attempt to rebuild the party in Thane and Palghar districts, two places where Dighe helped the party take root, and undermine the CM’s narrative that he is the inheritor of the Sena strongman’s legacy. Kedar has been in active politics since 2006 in Thane and has also held posts in the Yuva Sena headed by Aaditya Thackeray. He had twice expressed a wish to contest the Assembly elections but did not get a party ticket, said Sena functionaries. A part of the reason, they speculated, is that Shinde sidelined Kedar in the district unit.

“Shinde has dominated the Thane, Palghar, Kalyan-Dombivali, Bhiwandi and Ambernath belt using Dighe’s name and also by doing work in the regions. After his rebellion, Shiv Sena received a major setback in Thane. Except for MP Rajan Vichare and his wife, who is a corporator, other senior party leaders and elected representatives are with Shinde and the Shiv Sena is struggling. In such a situation, Kedar Dighe was appointed strategically by Thackeray who can claim the legacy of Anand Dighe and take on Shinde,” said a senior party leader in the Thackeray camp.

A party worker said, “Though some MLAs and corporators have left the party, the cadre is loyal to the Thackerays and Kedar Dighe, who can attract the youth as well as old Shiv Sainiks who were loyal to Anand Dighe.”

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