Controversy over Raj*s visit to BJP head office refuses to die down; party*s primary voter base is still angry at welcome extended by party leaders
In an attempt to appear confident that their voter base is still strong, top-ranking leaders of Mumbai BJP are all set for their rally scheduled for next month in the city.
The recent visit by MNS chief Raj Thackeray to BJP*s head office has clearly created a rift between the party and its once strong primary voter base of North Indian migrants, evidenced by some leaders of the community voicing their resentment.
The MNS chief Raj Thackeray
BJP leaders on the other hand, although not visibly distressed at the thought of angering their primary voter base in the city, seem to be implementing some steps to minimize the damage.
Tara Singh, an MLA and Vice President, Mumbai BJP, said, "We are going to hold a meeting before the rally and will convince people to attend.
We are sure that the North Indian voters will never leave us as they have been supporting us and will continue to do so."
Reacting to BJP State President, Sudir Mungantiwar and Senior Leader Vinod Tawde*s open armed welcome to Raj Thackeray on Monday, Uday Pratap Singh of Uttar, an organization for North Indians, said, "Raj Thackeray*s hatred towards North Indians is evident and his party*s ideology has always contradicted us.
North Indians have always been the largest voter base for the BJP in the city, but welcoming the MNS chief, has upset voters".
Singh who is also associated with another political party, claims, "MNS has been bad mouthing North Indians and had started a campaign that encouraged its workers to physically assault them.
All this has created a certain degree of hatred in the minds of the community and when the BJP president says that he welcomes anyone, it will definitely affect the voter base."
Although BJP will not accept the fact, they are quite aware of Raj*s negative sentiments towards North Indian migrants and know that their gesture has angered their primary voter base, but still they felt that it was temporary and would blow over.
However, some BJP workers know that if something were not done quickly to save face, this incident would affect them to a large extent during the BMC elections.
"We have a rally scheduled for 16 January 2011, which is expected draw huge support but if our primary voter base does turn up, how will we gather the crowd," said a party leader.
Suresh Gupta, Senior North Indian Leader from the BJP believes that the Raj Thackeray episode will not affect their vote share greatly.
"Everybody is welcome to our party office, and anyone who is prepared to bring changes in their party ideology and assimilate with ours is always welcome.
In this context, our voters know that BJP has always been supporting them and will never abandon them and vice-versa," he said.