Taking a dig at BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s Gujarat development model, and announcing support for the NCP, Damoder Tandel, president of fishermen’s union Akhil Bharatiya Koli Vikas Parishad, on Friday asked why over 10,000 fishermen from Gujarat had immigrated to Mumbai to seek employment.
While raising the issues of the Koli community, Tandel attacked the BJP at a press conference at Marathi Patrakar Sangh in south Mumbai, saying that members of his association would not vote for the party.
“We conducted a meeting to decide which political party, either the Congress or the BJP, could bring justice to our (Koli) community,” said Tandel. He alluded that the community would vote for the Congress-NCP alliance, saying it had allotted Rs 2,100 crore for the development and welfare of the fishermen community in the state.
Tandel added, “We allowed fishermen from Gujarat to come to Mumbai and look for livelihood here, but we had permitted it only for a few years. Now, this has become a practice, where over 10,000 Gujarati fishermen have immigrated to the state in the last 60 years.”
“I want to ask Modi that if Gujarat is a developed state, as he claims it to be, then why are their people coming to Maharashtra in search of jobs? If he is creating a development model for India, what exactly is the model for the fishermen community? Their fishermen live on boats, and stay in Mumbai for nine to 10 months. If he has prepared such a brilliant model, how is it that it is still so flawed?” Tandel added.
He also said that one of the problems of the Koli community was that it was regarded a scheduled tribe in other states, while in Maharashtra it wasn’t given the status. “The entire community should fall under the same category without any disparity. The differences exist because of the BJP, which has people who do not wish to work for our welfare,” he said.