Ahead of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls, the Shiv Sena in a bid to make inroads into the Gujarati vote bank in Mumbai, which is seen close to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), will organise a meeting of the community on January 10.
“In every election, political parties try to attract voters of different communities. The Sena is presently the ruling party in the BMC. A meeting of the Gujarati community seeking its support is not a big deal,” Sena’s national organiser Hemraj Shah said, adding that meetings of Hindi-speaking people are also in the pipeline.
Mr. Shah said that the inclusive leadership of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is visible in the testing times of the novel coronavirus. “The objective of the meeting is to decide how to move forward and to win votes and more seats,” he said.
Western suburbs such as Borivli, Kandivli, Malad and Andheri, and eastern suburbs like Ghatkopar and Mulund are known to have sizeable Gujarati population which can decide the fate of around 40 to 50 wards of the 227.
The Opposition BJP criticised the Sena saying that it remembers the Gujarati community only before elections. “The Sena claims to be the champion of the cause of the Marathi community. But as polls approach, it starts appeasing Gujaratis. It forgot Hindutva after the Assembly elections and joined hand with the Congress. Now the Sena again goes back to Hindutva before civic polls,” BJP MLA Ram Kadam said.
Hitting back, Mr. Shah said the BJP should come out of the frustration of losing power in Maharashtra. “People vote for a party that works for them. Instead of complaining about others, the BJP should start working on people’s issues. Only that work will ensure votes to its and not whining,” he said.