With just 10 days left for the polls, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray questions the Congress-NCP alliance, which rules the state, over what it has done for Mumbai’s development and rules out the possibility of a post-poll alliance with MNS chief Raj Thackeray.
In 16 years of BMC rule what has the Sena done for Mumbai?
An Olympic-sized pool, a Samyukta Maharashtra museum, Middle Vaitarna project, water tunnelling and virtual classrooms are some of the things we have done. People should ask themselves why they should vote for the Congress-NCP combine. What has it done for the city? What is the state of projects it has taken up?
What is your view on North Indian voters?
We have given seats to people on merit, even if they are North Indians. As for voters, we don’t distinguish between them, whether they are Marathi or Gujarati. When the BMC supplies water, it reaches every home. I appeal to North Indians to think of the party they run to in times of need.
Many of the projects you mention don’t impact people’s daily lives.
We have done several projects that impact people directly. My main focus in the past five years has been flood management. We have increased rainwater run-off rates, cleaned rivers. We are increasing water supply sources and offer advanced medical facilities.
With a budget of Rs 21,000 crore, not much is happening on ground zero.
Of Rs 21,000 crore, we spend 70% on administration expenses and salaries. That leaves Rs 6000 crore for a 1.75-crore population for whom we provide amenities such as water and sewage management.
The Sena has not provided pothole-free roads, nor cleared encroachments. Isn’t it a lack of political will?
I am ready to take responsibility for our shortcomings, but to say we don’t do anything is unfair. We have prioritised concretising major roads such as the Haji Ali Road. This year, we have appointed agencies for quality control.
As for encroachments, Home Minister RR Patil had promised a special police force, which has not happened. It is difficult for anti-encroachment squads to work without a force.
How will you tackle rebellion, especially from heavyweights like Raja Chougule?
Everyone wants a ticket and there is a limit to how much we can give in. If you look at our candidate list, you will see there is no large-scale rebellion. As for those who don’t want to listen, they will leave the party or we will remove them. I sat with each candidate before finalising the list.
The Sena suffered a dent because of the MNS in the last polls. As plan B, will both parties join hands to come to power?
I am not thinking of whether they will impact our votes. I am going to the people with my work and strength. There is no plan B, we will win for sure.