Believe it or not, a member of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray’s family will switch to the enemy camp. But that’s what Smita Thackeray, his 48-year-old daughter-in-law, appears to be doing in suddenly announcing her decision to join Sonia Gandhi’s Congress party.
I have 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, she told TOI on Friday.
The reasons for Smita’s decision are two. One, she feels the Shiv Sena is being unfair to Maharashtrians with its parochial and divisive politics and two, she was being systematically marginalised by powerful elements in the Thackeray household.
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. And there was more gushing praise for the first family of Indian politics.
Smita said she was in touch with senior leaders of the Congress in New Delhi, and it was only a question of time before she formally stepped into the party. She is likely to call on Sonia Gandhi and Rahul in the capital soon. For the Congress it will be a prize catch, and indications are that Smita will be given an important post in the organisation.
Smita said that her father-in-law, who was earlier very supportive, himself failed to keep his promises to her. ``I was promised a berth in the Rajya Sabha, but I was shocked when I learnt that my seat had been given to journalist Bharat Kumar Raut.
Smita, who is the estranged wife of Bal Thackeray’s son Jaidev, said she never considered the MNS an alternative since she did not agree with Raj Thackeray’s politics. I want Maharashtrians to change with the changing times. English is today a powerful tool of communication. Even the Chinese are realising this.
Even though she lives in a spacious bungalow in Juhu, Smita retains her room in Matoshree, the Thackeray home in Bandra East. Since she is the first Thackeray to join the Congress, does she fear the consequences? ``I have an identity of my own and am old enough to take decisions for myself. I do not fear anyone,’’ she answered firmly.