Addressing campaign rallies for their Lok Sabha candidates Tuesday evening, both the Thackeray cousins once again upped the ante against “outsiders” in the state.
While Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray termed North Indians to be a “headache”, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray described Bangladeshis as “rats”.
MNS president Raj raked up the issue of influx of north Indians into the state and said he would request BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to work towards the development of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand to ease the load on Maharashtra.
“When Narendra Modi becomes the Prime Minister I will request him to work only on Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand and transform them into Gujarat so that our headache here is eased,” Thackeray said during a campaign rally for MNS candidate Mahesh Manjrekar.
Raj said that in spite of states like Uttar Pradesh giving so many prime ministers to the country, it had still not been developed. “Constituencies of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi are in UP, still the people of this state have to turn towards other states for employment,” he said.
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He added that the first right on the opportunities in the state would be that of the sons of the soil. “First the youth of Maharashtra must get employment and their daily bread, after that if there is anything left, we will call these people from UP, Bihar and other states.” he said.
He said the state was suffering the most due to migration from outside, and was not getting enough funds from the Centre.
“Out of the 40 per cent that goes to the Centre from Maharashtra, only five per cent comes back. States like UP and Bihar get much more funds than Maharashtra. It’s like a sincere and hardworking son of the house has to go sleep on the streets, but the one who is good for nothing and troubles everyone in the house gets the luxury of the bedroom,” he said.
With the 2009 polls held in the backdrop of MNS’s attacks on north Indians, voters from the community gravitated towards the Congress-NCP combine, which won all six seats in the country’s financial capital.
The north Indian voters’ impact was also felt in other regions in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, with the Sena and BJP winning only one of nine seats in the Mumbai-Thane-Palghar belt, which has traditionally been dominated by the saffron combine.
North Indian voters account for 27 per cent of Mumbai’s electorate.
The voting trend in the community could again become a deciding factor this election, political analysts feel.
Echoing the anti-immigrant sentiment, Uddhav hit out at at Bangladeshi immigrants at a campaign rally in Girgaum for party candidate from South Mumbai, Arvind Sawant.
“Bangladeshi immigrants come in like rats every year. They had infiltrated the city so far, now they have also infiltrated our voter lists now,” Uddhav said.
He said the Sena’s idea of Hindutva involves packing off these “parcels” to where they came from. “Our Hindutva means sending these Bangladeshi parcels back where they came from,” he said.