At a time when the BJP and the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) are getting closer on the issue of Hindutva, the former has decided to touch the sensitive topic of north Indians in Mumbai, which is unlikely to be appreciated by the MNS.
In a bid to woo north Indians ahead of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election, senior BJP leader and the former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis on April 15 said north Indians who had been living in the city for the last four generations were now Mumbaikars.
With the BMC polls round the corner, each political party is working hard to appease the north Indian voters in the city, who are likely to impact at least 100 seats out of 227. The Mumbai Congress too had organised the ‘Uttar Bharatiya Panchayat’ in the city to woo north Indians.
The BJP had already held ‘Chaupal’ of north Indian communities across the city. On the other hand, the MNS, with whom the BJP is seen aligning over Hindutva, has maintained its anti-north Indian stand. Mr. Fadnavis’ statement that north Indians were Mumbaikars is unlikely to go unnoticed in the party.
Mr. Fadnavis said that people had come from north India due to various reasons over several decades.
“The people, who have been living in the city for the last four to five generations, have become Mumbaikars. I often see that the north Indian people, who have been living in Mumbai, have preserved north Indian culture as well as adopted Maharashtrian culture,” said Mr. Fadnavis.
He was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the Babu RN Singh Guest House meant for cancer patients’ relatives and pilgrims. He inaugurated the newly constructed guest house, situated at Uttar Bharatiya Sangh (UBS) Bhavan in Bandra East. The UBS plans to provide relief to kin of cancer patients who come to Mumbai from north India.
Mr. Fadnavis added that the north Indian people had been mingled in such a way that he could not differentiate whether a person was north Indian or Maharashtrian.
“For instance, one can’t recognise Maratha warriors in Haryana, as they have become Haryanavi. Similarly, Marathi people, who have been living in Bundelakhand, can be recognised as Bundelakhandi. Similarly, the north Indian people, who have arrived in Mumbai, have now become Mumbaikars. This is a tradition of our country,” he added.