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Marathi votes will come back to Sena: Uddhav

india Updated: May 21, 2009 01:08 IST
Sayli Udas Mankikar
Sayli Udas Mankikar
Hindustan Times
Marathi votes will come back to Sena: Uddhav

He walked in with his army of 11 newly elected Members of Parliament, paraded them before the media, to reiterate the Shiv Sena had not lost it all yet.

Shiv Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday said that although the Sena had done well in rural Maharashtra despite not having any star campaigners, he regretted losing seats in Mumbai and Thane.

“After 26/11, I never expected Mumbaiites to vote for Congress-NCP. Nevertheless, we will work on our shortcomings and make up in the Assembly elections,” said a subdued Thackeray, while addressing the media at Sena Bhavan.

He blamed himself for the party’s poor show in Mumbai and said he campaigned in Mumbai for only four days.

In the Lok Sabha polls, the Sena lost three seats in Mumbai, one in Thane and one in Nashik as the candidates of Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) got over 1 lakh votes in each of these constituencies.

Thackeray did not believe the Sena lost the Maharashtrian vote because of any fault of its. He hoped Maharashtrians would return to support the Sena in the Assembly elections.

“I have got a lot of feedback from Marathi voters who said they are repenting for having voted elsewhere [for the MNS]. The Marathi votes which have gone will come back,” he added.

He pointed out that the Shiv Sena had lost just one seat in the 2009 elections -- it had managed to bag 11 seats of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state against 12 in 2004.

Also of the 11, three of them were in western Maharashtra, an NCP bastion and a farmer belt, he pointed out.

Uddhav avoided making making any direct comments on Raj Thackeray or the MNS but indirectly took potshots at his cousin.

“We have never taken advantage of the Marathi manoos for our personal political gains, and we have always worked for his advantage,” he said.

He said Bal Thackeray’s stand in the party’s mouthpiece Saamna on Tuesday was that of the party, and was the final word.