Can Uddhav Thackeray survive this unprecedented political calamity? Unprecedented, in his career, not in Indian politics though. Given the current situation, Thackeray may have lost on the floor test even before taking it but he has definitely garnered sympathy supporters, lot of press and publicity in the past two weeks.
Comparisons with his own father have inevitably followed, even though Bal Thackeray was made of a different mettle, allegations of him being a product of nepotism have closely trailed, thanks to Raj Thackeray.
Of late, everything has been overshadowed, with him being painted as a distant leader or the one who gave a lot of freedom to his legislators, depending on which side you are speaking to.
Uddhav's resignation speech
Controlled tone yet seething with sarcasm for Eknath Shinde, Uddhav Thackeray's resignation speech made one thing clear. He is in for the long haul and ready to fight back. "I am not going anywhere. I will gather all our supporters, we will recoup." Within few minutes of the Supreme Court verdict, Thackeray delivered his speech live on Facebook, saying that he was resigning as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
He walked the tricky balance between respecting the system and deriding the people who stood to benefit by the same system. "I respect the Supreme Court's verdict. Democracy is foremost," he said but not without a few words of sarcasm for the Governor, whom he thanked for, "respecting democracy so greatly that he called for a floor test in just 24 hours."
Then there's Eknath Shinde, whom he called, the "autowallah who had risen with help from the Shiv Sena" and said, "those whom we promoted and built up, they are the ones who have betrayed us."
The battle for September begins
The campaign for the BMC elections (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) the richest municipal corporation in the country, will see all that it takes to win it. Currently controlled by the Sena, Thackeray has to ensure that it remains like that.
BJP seeks to send Thackeray family into political exile but Shiv Sena has no option but to test or establish whether they have the political stronghold over their territory.
It'll be an uphill task
But it'll be a tough ride for the Thackeray clan. If 2017 BMC polls are anything to go by, Sena won 84 seats, while BJP was inching closer at 82. Later, six people from MNS and a few independents joined hands to give it the stronghold required. This year the total number of electoral wards are up from 227 to 236, due to redrawing of a few boundaries. The former chief minister will most likely form an alliance with NCP and Congress to ensure that the crucial numbers tip in his favour.
Never underestimate the political acumen of a leader betrayed by his own. Never undermine the power of victim card and the sympathy votes it can fetch. That's the stuff political films are made of. This time it unveils for real, ironically, in the city of Mumbai itself.