Smita Thackarey’s may join Congress

Mumbai,November 28: Disenchanted with Shiv Sena, Smita Thackeray, daughter-in-law of party supremo Bal Thackeray appears to be headed for the Congress party after publicly expressing her admiration for Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.Smita, 48, dropped a bombshell by stating in a newspaper interview that she has become a “big admirer of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and want to be part of the good work being done by them for the country”.

“I cannot stand the suffocation any more and have decided to join the Congress, which has a national and global vision. I now feel most comfortable with the Congress ideology,” she had said.

Today, her son Rahul spoke to journalists but his comments were ambivalent as he gave no indications whether she was staying on with the Shiv Sena or joining the Congress.

“She is not involved in power struggle. She wants to move forward in politics. But there was no good response from Shiv Sena to her desire. It is not that she has left the Shiv Sena, but her options are open,” he said.

He said that his mother has all the respect for the Shiv Sena supremo and has not said anything against him.

Rahul said that his mother was out of town and has asked him to meet the media on her behalf but he was not in a position to reply to all the questions. A politically ambitious person, Smita, estranged wife of Bal Thackeray’s son Jaidev, was a power centre in Maharashtra when the Sena-BJP alliance came to power in 1995.

However, AICC spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said her intention to join the party reflected the “growing disenchantment and disillusionment” of every Indian with Shiv Sena. He described Shiv Sena as a “party of the past, ignoring the present and undermining and sabotaging the future”.

Maharashtra Congress spokesman Hussein Dalwai said she was set to join the Congress.

Shiv Sena, on its part, left it to Smita to take her own decision with party Executive President Uddhav Thackeray saying “everybody is free to take own decision”.

“I am not going to say anything on the issue. I will continue doing my work … Let her decision, whatever it is, be announced, then I will speak,” he said.

Without naming anyone, Smita said in the interview that “over the years, I found that certain elements in the household, who shall remain unnamed for the present, were seeking to marginalise me.”

Rahul said “my mother is not unhappy with Balasaheb Thackarey, who is not only her father-in-law, but a father figure to her. She has all the respect and faith in him. She does not intend to hurt him in any situation.”