Sanjay Nirupam: Don't force North Indians to bring city to a standstill
Sanjay Nirupam said North Indians are the metropolis's main workforce, and that the community could bring the city to a standstill if it decides to stop work
Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam has landed in yet another controversy by stirring up the issue of regionalism. He said North Indians are the metropolis's main workforce, and that the community could bring the city to a standstill if it decides to stop work. He added that the community had stalled the city in the past and it should not be forced to repeat the act, making an obvious reference to those political parties and their leaders who have often made 'the sons of the soil' policy an election plank, besides the recent attacks on the North Indian workforce in Gujarat.
Nirupam made this statement on Sunday in Nagpur while addressing a conclave of North Indians. The Congress leader, who once represented the party that plays the Marathi card whenever required, said North Indians have always expressed gratitude towards Mumbai and Maharashtra for giving it jobs. "It is the North Indian community that runs the lives of and shoulders the burden of the people of Mumbai," Nirupam said, adding that the members of the community were supplying milk, newspapers and vegetables to the people of the megapolis, besides running autorickshaw and taxi services and securing housing societies and commercial complexes.
"If the community decides to stop work for a day, life in Mumbai will come to a standstill. No one will get roti [bread], vegetables, milk, auto, taxi, truck and tempo [services]. It happens sometimes, but it should not be done. [The community] should not be forced to take such a step," he said. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's leader Sandeep Deshpande played down Nirupam's statement as a political gimmick. "The person is trying to save his position in the Congress because many leaders want him out. We don't want to give him any importance. He is a person who couldn't even defend his own office (when it was vandalised by the MNS last year).
Mumbai is of Marathi people: Sena
Sena MP Rahul Shewale said the city was of Maharashtrians. "Sanjay Nirupam and the Congress have no issues to take before the people. They cannot even win a gram panchayat poll. The people of Mumbai will surely show them their place in the next elections," he said.
'I underlined importance, not political strength'
Nirupam told mid-day that the controversy was unnecessary. "I have been saying that North Indians are predominantly there in the service sector of Mumbai and Maharashtra. They have been providing about 50 basic services. And, the same time, I have been insisting that these service providers should not be discriminated on the basis of region they come from, " he said, adding his statement was not about highlighting the North Indians as a vote bank, but about underlining their importance in the service sector. "I haven't said anything wrong when I say the city would come to a standstill, because cities in Gujarat have been affected by the mass exodus of the North Indian workforce, after the attacks there. Any city will get affected if the community stops working..."
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