The Shiv Sena leader who masterminded the ink attack on Observer Research Foundation (ORF) chief Sudheendra Kulkarni for inviting a Pakistan-based personality, courting massive controversy, is now vying to be a corporator in the Mumbai civic body.
The Shiv Sena has picked Gajanan Patil, the most senior of the six Sainiks who splashed ink on Kulkarni, completely blackening his face, as its official candidate for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election from ward number 176 (Sion, GTB Nagar). The six Shiv Sena leaders attacked Kulkarni, ambushing him near his house, for inviting Pakistan’s former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri for his book launch on behalf of ORF in Mumbai.
Patil said, “I gained a lot of support in my area after that incident. There is a lot of anger against Pakistan among people for the violence at the border, the terrorism, and people really appreciated what I did. If anything, it will only help me in my election campaign. Besides, I will stress on the need for slum redevelopment, and improved garbage collection, highlighting how the BJP legislator in the area has done no work.”
The Shiv Sena has always been against any kind of association with Pakistan-based artistes and personalities, and had even forced the cancellation of a concert by ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali just a few days before the ink attack on Kulkarni.
While Sena leaders said the six Sainiks acted out of their own volition, and there were no such official orders from the party, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray reportedly felicitated Patil and his five associates for the assault on Kulkarni the following day.
Patil, a tour operator by profession, has been associated with the Sena for more than 23 years. For nearly 15 years, he has been heading Shiv Sena’s shakha at Antop Hill.