The Congress-Nationalist Congress Party combine's first major rally on Thursday evoked a poor response even as Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar launched a blistering attack on the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP alliance.
Sensing a poor turnout as most of the cadre is busy campaigning in the wards, the alliance changed its venue from the spacious MMRDA grounds at Bandra-Kurla Complex to the smaller Government Colony ground in Bandra (east).
Addressing the rally, Pawar said the Sena was only interested in the polls as it did not want to lose the benefits that come with controlling the civic body. "Sena leaders talk of ruling the state, but not one of them travelled to the villages to campaign in the zilla parishad polls," he said. "Mumbai is Sena's golden egg so they concentrate here."
Referring to MNS chief Raj Thackeray's query on what has happened to Rs40,000 crore of taxpayers' money that could have been spent on the city, Pawar said: "I have not gone into financial details, but I trust Raj Thackeray as he belongs to the family. He know deals better."
Pawar also took a swipe at the BJP. "The Vidhan Sabha is a forum used for solving the problems of the people, but the ministers were seeing nude pictures," he said, referring to the Karnataka Assembly episode.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, the architect of the united effort, said: "We have formed an alliance to remove the city from the clutches of communal forces who've ruined it… They have blackened the name of the city."