Mumbai, June 9: The Congress today launched a bitter broadside against what it called Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s “misplaced policies”.
Dubbing the Mee Mumbaikar (I am a Mumbaikar) campaign “shallow hogwash”, AICC general secretary Vayalar Ravi said the Sena was anything but nationalist. “They are Nazi-ist, not nationalist,” he told the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee.
Through the Mee Mumbaikar campaign, the Sena has been demanding greater job opportunities for Maharashtrians and a ban on migration to Mumbai from other states. The Congress said this exposed the Sena as an insular party not bothered by the sensibilities of people from other states.
Caught on the wrong foot, Thackeray rushed to clarify his stand and has called a meeting in Bandra tomorrow of party leaders.
The Sena campaign has boomeranged with affiliates in Varanasi saying that if people of Uttar Pradesh origin were driven out of Mumbai, Maharashtrians would be meted the same treatment in Varanasi and other parts of the Hindi heartland.
There is also anger in the migrant population against the Sena directive, which has called for a ban on all hawkers who are “UP bhaiyyas and Biharis”.
The Sena’s latest demand has been 90 per cent reservation for Maharashtrians in all big companies, including multinationals, in Mumbai. It has set an August 30 deadline.
A Sena leader said Thackeray would “clear the cobwebs” about the Mee Mumbaikar campaign at tomorrow’s meeting. His son, Uddhav, and nephew Raj will also be addressing party workers.
Former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said the Sena campaign aimed at getting votes in next year’s Assembly election.
“The Sena’s ideological contradictions have been exposed because while on the one hand they talk of Mee Mumbaikar, on the other they are trying to spread the party’s presence in other states. People are not going to be deceived by such campaigns,” Deshmukh said.