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Non-Marathi Hindus are to blame for Sena’s poor performance in Mumbai civic polls, says Uddhav Thackeray

This was the first time in 25 years that any party had come so close to the Shiv Sena’s tally in Mumbai.

mumbai Updated: Jul 26, 2017 00:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

For the first time after Shiv Sena almost lost its grip on its bastion of Mumbai in the civic polls earlier this year, party chief Uddhav Thackeray accepted that they didn’t fare as well as they expected.

In the concluding part of this three-part interview in Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana, Thackeray said like everyone else even he believed that the Shiv Sena would win more than 100 of the 227 seats. He also blamed non-Marathi Hindus for the party’s low tally and said they rallied behind the BJP.

After a bitter battle with the BJP, the Shiv Sena won 84 seats in the country’s richest municipal corporation and the BJP got 82. This was the first time in 25 years that any party had come so close to the Shiv Sena’s tally in Mumbai.

In a discussion with Sena MP and executive editor of Saamana, Sanjay Raut, he said, “In Mumbai’s case, the Marathi-speaking voters definitely stayed with the Shiv Sena. My party is really grateful to them.”

He added, “I just really feel bad about one thing. In 1992-93 riots in Mumbai did not spread as per civic wards. Wherever there was unrest, being Hindu the Shiv Sainiks saved every one by putting their lives at stake. I don’t think it is right to vote out those who have helped you in times of crisis.”

Thackeray said several Shiv Sainiks are still battling criminal cases because they rushed to protect the Hindus of Mumbai and in return none of those expressed any gratitude to Shiv Sainiks. “We don’t expect them to say thank you, but they should have remembered that it was Sena that saved them. Even today, I saved Mumbai’s octroi revenue from being washed out by the Goods and Services Tax. I didn’t do that only for the Marathi population in the city. I did it for the entire city,” Thackeray said.

The Sena chief also hinted that mid-term polls in Maharashtra are unlikely despite increasingly choppy relations between the ruling parties. “I don’t pay attention to empty threats from all over. BJP president Amit Shah visited Matoshree and clearly told me there won’t be any mid-term polls,” he said.

Thackeray also criticised the Modi government, which Sena is a part of, for not taking a strict view of the Karnataka government’s “offensive” demand for a separate flag. He also called for sedition charges to be slapped on the state. “Unfortunately, I am the only one speaking out here. No one in other states or in the country is bothered. If I were to say the same thing about Maharashtra, people would have criticised us from all over.”

First Published: Jul 25, 2017 10:00 IST