Shiv Sena's vada pav strategy

Shiv Sena's vada pav strategy

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Mumbai Mumbai's favourite snack, the vada pav, is spicing up Shiv Sena's election plans.
The party on Thursday launched the Shiv Vada Pav - a scheme supposedly to bring employment to Maharashtrians.

"The Marathi manoos will be the brand ambassadors," said Uddhav Thackeray, Executive President, Shiv Sena.

The Sena plans to enroll unemployed young people, teach them how to make vada pavs, set up shops for them.

But the raw material (the batter, masala, oil) will have to be bought from Sena approved companies only.

Supposedly to ensure a common taste across its handcart outlets.
"McDonald's has extended their knowhow to us to help us ensure our ingredients stay fresh for a long time," said Uddhav Thackeray.

It's an attempt to return to food politics. Like in 1995 when as the ruling party, the Sena launched the zhunka bhakar scheme to sell the traditional dish through road side stalls.
Even then the stated purpose was to provide employment and promote Maharashtrian cuisine.

Stalls were handed out at prime locations like in Nariman Point amid accusations of corruption to women like Vandana Navalkar, wife of late Sena leader Pramod Navalkar.
But soon the zhunka bhakar fell off the menu to sell everything from burgers to biriyani to Chinese.

"People nowadays want vadas, samosas and other stuff. So zunkha bhakar is not so much in demand," says Vandana Navalkar, Chairperson, Kutumbsakhi.

It's been barely an hour since the Shiv Vada pao was launched and it is already selling like hot cakes. What many political observers are wondering though is whether the taste will linger till the assembly elections.
Story First Published: June 19, 2009 11:18 IST

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