LokSabha 2019: ‘We have decided to campaign against Modi and Shah’
Though the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has decided not to contest the Lok Sabha elections 2019, it is playing an important role after MNS Chief Raj Thackeray announced that he will be campaigning against Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. On this background, MNS General Secretary Anil Shidore spoke to Siddharth Gadkari.
- The MNS has decided not to contest Lok Sabha elections 2019, what is the party’s strategy?
After the announcement of the election programme, we have started our preparation, but not for the polls. We are concentrating on the upcoming assembly polls. We are going to each taluka and ward to conduct party meetings. We are informing people why we don’t want Modi and Shah. We are giving training to party workers. Our work for assembly election has already begun. We have to continue our election campaign against Modi and Shah up to the assembly polls. There are three types of followers – hardcore party followers, party associates and common public. We are identifying them and targeting voters through the election management system. We have completed this exercise up to 20 per cent.
- MNS has a soft corner for Shiv Sena and Sena is in coalition with BJP. How do you convince party workers and followers?
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena have been fighting with each other for the last five years. So, it is very easy to tell supporters to isolate Shiv Sena in our election campaign. At present, we are targeting Modi and Shah and the parties that support them. Our party chief Raj Thackeray’s rally on Gudi Padwa will decide the future course of our party.
- Are you admitting that MNS has lost ground in Pune gradually since 2014 Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections and the civic elections 2017 results?
If we see a voting pattern, our representation incorporation has dropped from 29 to 2 in the PMC election. It doesn’t mean that we didn’t get a response. We got a good response in traditional areas of Pune city, however, it did not convert into a victory. Another thing is that BJP and Shiv Sena misused their power and delimited corporation wards for political gain. Therefore, our voters got scattered. It is completely unlawful. Due to the four panel system, the party suffered more. There is no sizable difference in the number of votes which we got in all elections. We will capitalise on it.
- Are you going to target BJP candidate Girish Bapat contesting from Pune Lok Sabha seat?
No, we have already decided to target only Modi and Shah. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the centre of BJP’s all election campaigns. So, we are targeting Modi. We appeal to the people to not vote for those who blindly follow Modi. We are not personally attacking Girish Bapat or criticising the work done by him. As per our constitution, there is no presidential election pattern in India. So, we want a Member of Parliament from Pune who can think and work independently and who also has a vision. Pune city has a long history and tradition. Many top politicians have started their career from the city and have made a significant contribution to Indian politics. So, we don’t want an MP from Pune who just follows orders from Modi.
- Does a Modi wave exist in the country?
Absolutely not. There is no enthusiasm in the election at all, as compared to Lok Sabha polls 2014. PM Modi has also not done anything great for people to come forward and vote for BJP. Now, the party is creating drama amidst election. PM Modi addressing the nation is a part of this drama.