Elections for Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation are scheduled for August 20, and the campaign is in full swing. On Saturday, at one of the campaign rally in ward 20 and 21, Shiv Sena’s Thane corporator Purvesh Sarnaik, delivered his whole speech in Gujarati.
Since 70 per cent of the voting population is non-Marathi, Gujarati’s hold the key to seats to the corporation. The sitting MLA in this area is Narendra Mehta and mayor is Geeta Jain, both from the BJP. The people present at the rally said that at least one leader should speak in Gujarati. Since the others spoke in Hindi, Sarnaik was left with the responsibility of speaking in Gujarati.
“We are contesting the elections on 94 seats, one candidate lost his nomination because of technical issues. There are lot of Gujaratis, Marwadis and North Indians in this area and in the ward that I was campaigning in on Saturday, hence I spoke in Gujarati,” Sarnaik said. Sena’s stand against Gujaratis had come to the fore in its editorial in Saamana in 2014.
However, later, Uddhav Thackeray had distanced himself and the party from the editorial. In the 2017 BMC polls, the Shiv Sena even inducted Gujarati leaders from other parties.
There are a total of 95 seats in the corporation and like the Mumbai Municipal polls, both the Shiv Sena and BJP are contesting separately.
“Pratap Sarnaik represents just a part of Mira-Bhayander in the Legislative assembly, but there was never a major presence of the Shiv Sena here. However, if they continue with their efforts, they might have a good show,” said a BJP leader from Mira-Bhayander.