Shiv Sena Welcomes Hardik Patel To Defeat BJP In BMC And Gujarat

Mumbai civic polls

Mumbai civic polls

Following the meeting, Uddhav Thackeray announced, "Hardik Patel will be the face of the Shiv Sena's campaign in Gujarat". A few minutes after his news conference, along with Patidar community leader Hardik Patel, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis reacted to his statement by saying that his government was not under threat.

The election for the 182-member Gujarat assembly will be held later this year, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fighting anti-incumbency. But nothing has been decided or discussed yet. Hardik Patel has been the face of the Patel quota stir in 2015 and Sena's mouthpiece Saamna had published editorials lauding Hardi Patel for "supplanting Prime Minister Narendra Modi as crowd-puller".

BJP's North East Mumbai MP Kirit Somaiya, a Gujarati himself, made light of Patel's meeting with Thackeray. To counter BJP's growing clout among the Gujarati community, Shiv Sena roped in Patel to campaign for Sena candidates in Mumbai's Gujarati dominated areas.

In fact, the Gujarati vote is significant enough to sway the results for the 40-odd seat BMC, which is the country's richest municipal body with a 37,000 crore-budget. After his return last month, the young campaigner pledged to ensure the defeat of the BJP in the Gujarat polls.

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Stating that he is happy to be in Maharashtra, Patel said, "Like I admire Bhagat Singh, I am also a fan of the late Balasaheb Thackeray".

Blaming the Modi government for betraying the Gujarati community, Thackeray said, "Modi government has been ruthless on Gujarati businessmen".

So Uddhav is concentrating on bringing in Gujarati faces just before the BMC elections. On the other hand, BJP, which has won three Lok Sabha seats and 15 assembly seats in Greater Mumbai, was firm on its stand to contest 114 seats and pressed for transparency in BMC's administration. The step was enough for the reporters to guess that the agenda of the meeting was to grab the attention towards Hardik-ShivSena alliance which can hurt BJP as Hardik already opposed BJP during Patidar agitation which was strongly supported in Gujarat. He was jailed for his massive campaign, demanding job quotas for the Patel community, which turned violent.