The Shiv Sena released its election manifesto in Mumbai on Friday, focussing more on local issues like getting a better deal for Mumbai while steering clear of Hindutva.
"It (Hindutva) is a national issue. We have decided to concentrate only on issues affecting the common man in Maharashtra and other local issues," Sena executive president Udhav Thackeray said, releasing the party's election manifesto in Mumbai.
While the BJP manifesto has promised to build a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya, Thackeray said, "There is no reason to be sad if the temple is built."
The "local issues" he listed include inflation, getting a better deal for Mumbai and Maharashtra in terms of resources from the central government, providing more jobs for local people and resolving the long-pending Maharashtra-Karnataka border issue.
The Sena has also promised to reintroduce the stringent Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and carry out the death sentence to parliament terrorist attack convict Afzal Guru.
Asked if Sena would back Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar for the post of prime minister, Thackeray remarked: "How can a person, who was the agriculture minister but could not solve the farmers' problems, become PM?"
Adding that the state had witnessed a large number of farmer suicides, Thackeray assured that on the Sena's part, it would announce a complete waiver of farm loans to clear farmers' debts in the state.
He also pointed out that the Sena could not ally with the NCP. "Are they accepting our Hindutva agenda?" he asked.
When reminded that his father and Sena chief Bal Thackeray wished was to see a Marathi person as prime minister, he retorted: "You seem to be under some mistaken impression that Marathi means only Sharad Pawar."
Expressing confidence that there are "winds of change blowing in Maharashtra", Thackeray declared that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which includes Sena and the BJP among others, would come to power at the national level with L.K. Advani as prime minister.