They are out to woo the Marathi manoos once again. On Wednesday, the Shiv Sena-BJP-RPI alliance launched its campaign for the February 16 civic polls by holding its first joint rally at Vikhroli. Senior leaders of all three parties attended the event.
Following in Raj Thackeray’s footsteps, one after another, leaders of the alliance verbally attacked the North Indian leaders of the Congress-NCP combine, targeting Kripa Shankar Singh and Sanjay Nirupam.
Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde said: “Madhu Koda swindled crores of money and Kripashankar Singh was a beneficiary. Do you want to hand over the BMC to such leaders?”
Playing the Marathi versus the non-Marathi card, Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray criticised Congress president Sonia Gandhi for choosing Kripashankar Singh to take her around when she visited the city after the 2005 deluge. “Do you need a non-Marathi like Kripashankar to show you around Mumbai?” Uddhav asked.
The alliance’s attack of North Indians stems from their urgent need to be one up over Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray’s anti-North Indian tirade, which has lured away some of the Sena’s support base.
Uddhav also tried to stir up emotions by claiming that it was the Sena that had ensured the safety and of the Marathi manoos during the 1993 riots. “Had the Sena not been around in 1993 and saved the lives and wealth of the Hindus, Mumbai would have been under Dawood’s rule,” he said.