Monday, February 14, 2011

Eyeing young voters, Sena \'silent\' over V-Day celebrations

2011-02-14, Mumbai:

With Aditya, grandson of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray taking over the Yuva Sena reins, the party, which once vociferously opposed Valentines\' Day celebrations, has chosen to lie low on the issue, in a bid to woo young voters and avoid any controversy ahead of BMC polls.

\"We think there are more important issues to be sorted out than opposing Valentine\'s Day. The youth are also not much enthusiastic about the Day and the celebrations have become less in last two-three years,\" Abhijit Panse, President of Bhartiya Vidyarthi Sena, the Students Union of the party, said.

Defending the party\'s decision on not opposing V-Day celebrations on Monday, Abhijit said the new generation has understood that this is not Indian culture or festival and they have stopped celebrating the V-Day.

Instead, the Sena has taken up issues like helping the youths to get jobs in railways. Also Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray recently took up problems of Ganesh idol makers after the High Court ban on use of Plaster of Paris for making them, he said.

The Sena, in the recent years had protested against the day terming it as \'western festival\'. Vandalism was an annual feature on Valentine\'s Day, as many of the party activists indulged in burning greetings, threatening youths and even attacking gift shops.

Even rival Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) is surprised over Sena\'s change of stand. \"We have never opposed the Valentine\'s Day celebrations, its Sena which has changed its stand about the day,\" MNS legislator Nitin Sardesai said.

A Sena leader, on condition of anonymity, said the party is eyeing BMC polls next year and in no way can afford to loose young voters.

\"Development programmes like railway recruitment would attract them more to the party. Even the Yuva Sena does not want to get into any kind of controversy which would hurt sentiments of youth,\" he added.

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