Aditya Thackeray, the son of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, is likely to contest the Maharashtra election later this year, sources said on Thursday. If he does, he will be the first to contest from the Thackeray family in the history of the Shiv Sena.
The youngest Thackeray politician, who is at the centre of chief ministerial buzz in this election season, may contest from the prestigious Worli assembly seat. Last week, the Sena had welcomed on board Sachin Ahir, acquiring rival Congress's strongest bet in Worli.
Aditya Thackeray, 25, is currently on a Jan Ashirwad Yatra, a state-wide outreach programme playing on his mass appeal, especially with the younger voters.
Sources say the Shiv Sena is inclined to present Aditya Thackeray as its candidate for Chief Minister.
Till now, the Sena has always contested polls without a face. Sources say this time, it is changing its political strategy.
Its designs on the chief minister's post may set up a clash with ally BJP, which has already announced that it will keep the top job.
The BJP-Sena partnership goes back nearly 30 years, but the past few years have been extremely difficult for their alliance. Both pulled back from the brink of a split and agreed last year to contest the polls together.
With the Sena appearing to be keen on pushing Aditya Thackeray into a big political role, the allies seem to be hurtling towards potential disputes on seat sharing as well as the chief minister's chair.
Amid multiple defections from the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, there had been rumours that the Sena and the BJP may fight separately to accommodate the newcomers.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP, however, recently rubbished such speculation and said the alliance would contest together.
The BJP and the Sena contested the 2014 Maharashtra elections separately, but joined hands later to form a BJP-led government. The BJP had won 122 out of total 288 seats and the Shiv Sena 63. The Congress and the NCP had won 42 and 41 seats.
In the upcoming polls, the BJP and the Sena have reportedly agreed to contest an equal number of seats.
Get Breaking news, live coverage, and Latest News from India and around the world on NDTV.com. Catch all the Live TV action on NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.