Shiv Sena plans to contest UP polls, seeks Tikait’s support

Shiv Sena on Thursday reached out to prominent farmers’ leader Rakesh Tikait to test the pulse of the ryots as it plans to contest upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh
Shiv Sena chief and Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray spoke to Tikait as Sena leader Sanjay Raut met the farmers’ leader at Muzaffarnagar to seek the “blessings” of the farmers ahead of UP polls (HT FIle)
Shiv Sena chief and Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray spoke to Tikait as Sena leader Sanjay Raut met the farmers’ leader at Muzaffarnagar to seek the “blessings” of the farmers ahead of UP polls (HT FIle)
Updated on Jan 14, 2022 12:10 AM IST
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Mumbai Shiv Sena on Thursday reached out to prominent farmers’ leader Rakesh Tikait to test the pulse of the ryots as it plans to contest upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Sena chief and Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray spoke to Tikait as Sena leader Sanjay Raut met the farmers’ leader at Muzaffarnagar to seek the “blessings” of the farmers in its fight in the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.

The Shiv Sena, which is planning to field candidates on around 50 to 100 seats in Uttar Pradesh, is banking on farmers’ support. Raut, who is on a tour of New Delhi and UP to mobilise the party workers and chalk out its plan, said that it will contest elections at Mathura, Varanasi and against UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath in Ayodhya. Despite its thin presence in UP, Raut said that the Sena will win seats in the upcoming election, as a “change of power” is expected in the largest state in the country.

Calling the meeting “apolitical”, Raut said that they discussed the farmers’ issues. Thackeray in his phone conversation with Tikait spoke about the Maharashtra government’s policies to support the farmers. Thackeray also invited Tikait to visit Maharashtra, Raut said.

“Both Uddhav ji and Rakesh Tikait had a long conversation and both the leaders discussed farmers’ issues. We will never ask Tikait ji to enter electoral politics. But this country’s politics cannot function without the support of the farmers. Farmers decide who sit on the throne, and history has shown that once people come to power, they forget the farmers, but two months after coming to power, Uddhav Ji wiped out the loans of the farmers,” Raut said in a press conference along with Tikait.

Meanwhile, the farmers’ leaders said that he would visit Maharashtra soon. “He invited me to Maharashtra and said that we will discuss Maharashtra’s policies for agriculture and farmers. We will see their policy and spread it elsewhere in the country. We are not connected to politics. It is a political party’s job to contest an election. Maharashtra government has always supported the farmers’ movement in Delhi. Whenever there was a bandh announced, it was followed in Maharashtra,” said Tikait.

Sena’s Rajya Sabha MP added that the party will not enter into an alliance with any political party in UP. The Sena leader said that it will win seats in UP in the upcoming election, “We are confident that we will have a representation in the Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly.” At the legislative assembly level in Uttar Pradesh, apart from getting one MLA elected in 1991, all of Sena’s previous attempts have drawn a blank.

The party will field a candidate in Ayodhya opposite CM Adityanath.

“We are not here to contest against any one person alone. We are here to do our brand of politics and contest elections. Does it say in the Constitution that we cannot contest against some particular person? Yes, we will contest election in Ayodhya,” said Raut when asked if Sena will field a candidate against the UP CM Yogi Adityanath, who could contest from Ayodhya instead of Gorakhpur seat.

The Shiv Sena is also expected to take up the Hindutva agenda in its campaign in Uttar Pradesh. Raut said that the Ram temple in Ayodhya is built after the court’s verdict and no political party can take its credit. “If they take the credit, Shiv Sena has a major role in it... We have never abandoned Hindutva. Now even Rahul Gandhi speaks of Hindus and Hindutvawadis,” Raut said.

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Sunday, January 23, 2022