Mumbai is known as a cosmopolitan city, but when it comes to representation in its civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), corporators from the Marathi community are still in the majority. But, the scenario has changed over the past few years and the non-Marathi representation in the new civic house has touched 36.1 per cent in comparison to 29.9 per cent in 2012.
During the last polls, the number of non-Marathi winners was 68, compared to the current number of 83. Of the corporators, 28 are Gujarati and equal numbers are from the Muslim community. While 17 of them are from north Indian communities, six belong to South Indian communities, while three are Christians.
This shot in the arm has come at a time when Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and his cousin Raj, chief of MNS, have been talking about the increasing clout of non-Marathi speaking leaders in Mumbai. In fact, Raj, during his public rallies and in an interview to mid-day, had expressed concern about BJP's hidden agenda to promote smaller states, which allegedly includes separating Mumbai from Maharashtra too.
MNS leader Nitin Sardesai said, "Our party's stand has always been to give priority to the locals, be it for businesses, jobs or politics and we will stick to it. There are non-Marathi people who are staying in Mumbai from many generations who respect the Marathi culture and our party has never opposed them."
However, Uddhav did express his gratitude for members from different communities voting for the Sena. Addressing the media, after winning 84 seats, he said, "For the first time, Shiv Sena won the (Muslim-majority) Behrampada seat. I thank the party workers and other community members, and especially Marathi manoos for firmly standing behind Shiv Sena.
Inputs by Suyash Karangutkar
> Marathi winners: 145
> Gujarati winners: 28
> Muslim winners: 28
> North Indian winners: 17
> South Indian winners: 6
> Christian winners: 3