Sena to contest Gujarat polls

Sena to contest Gujarat polls

Shiv Sena, the BJP's ally in Maharashtra, has decided to contest the forthcoming Gujarat Assembly election from 50-75 seats.

Its poll plank - people of Gujarat want change and the BJP has forgotten its old aim of upholding sentiments of the majority community.

"Hindutva has always been the forte of Shiv Sena since inception. We feel that BJP, which has won across the country, has forgotten its basic agenda of protecting Hindutva, for which people have voted it to power. We will contest to preserve and uphold our religion," Anil Desai, national general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP, told mediapersons.

He, however, said that his party's agenda would not be confined to Hindutva. "Our other basic criteria would be to uplift the quality of education in the state, which we feel has gone down the drain. We will also raise issues related to farmers, health and development," he added.

On Patel leader Hardik's meeting with Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackarey, Desai said the only thing discussed was Maratha reservation. "Caste and casteism is not our cup of tea. To us, all communities are equal," he added.

No alliance

Desai said that Shiv Sena would go it alone and not have any political alliances in the state. Shiv Sena is likely to focus on urban centres such as Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Surat, where the BJP or the Congress had won with less than 5,000 votes margin. These urban centres also happen to be  the  Congress' target to dent the BJP's prospects, courtesy caste issues and problems  triggered by  GST and demonetisation.

Desai said the party had already identified about 50 candidates. "We are narrowing down our choice for 20-25 more candidates but the number could be higher if we find suitable candidates. Our members have been doing good social and political work in the state for some time now," he added.

Gujarat is set for two-phased polls on December 9 and 14 for its 182-seat Assembly.

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