Grappling with rebellions in his party over denial of tickets for the Maharashtra assembly elections, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday took a dig at rebels after meeting leaders from OBC and other communities.
Representatives of various backward communities and Nomadic Tribes (NTs) met Thackeray at an auditorium in suburban Bandra for fulfilment of their demands. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Thackeray said the leaders told him they had no other expectations from him, but demanded “justice” for their respective communities. “Leaders are those who don’t aspire for election tickets but work for the welfare of their communities,” he said.
Like other parties, the Sena too is facing wrath of ticket aspirants in many constituencies where they were denied nomination for the October 21 polls. “Those who stand by you during the battle are genuine people. If a government cannot provide justice to communities what’s the use of such a government? Leaders are those who don’t aspire for poll tickets but work for the welfare of their communities,” he said.
The Sena chief said he was committed to ensure each and every person in the society availed basic amenities. “I will pursue your genuine demands with new government. Your support is of immense value to me,” he told the leaders.
Thackeray said the Sena was the only party that had taken to streets for the cause of farmers and the common man. “These communities have had certain demands pending since the last several years, and now they have approached the Sena for justice. We will ensure their demands are resolved within a legal framework or else we will work out other alternatives,” he said.
“These community leaders are not asking for seats to contest elections, but want me to stand by them,” he added. The Sena is contesting on 124 out of the total 288 constituencies in alliance with the BJP which has nominated candidates for 150 seats. Rest of the seats will be allotted to smaller allies from the BJP’s quota.
Meanwhile, former NCP MLA and OBC leader Prakash Shendge said backward communities will work to ensure victory of Sena candidates. “Small caste groups, including Dhangars and Kumbhars, have been used and dumped in the last 70 years. The Shiv Sena has promised us justice. OBCs will fight this battle under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray,” he said. October 4 was the last date for filing the nominations whereas the last date of withdrawal is October 7.