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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Exclusive Lok Sabha elections 2024 Who am I without Thackeray and Shiv Sena

Exclusive | Lok Sabha elections 2024: 'Who am I without Thackeray and Shiv Sena?'

Updated on: 08 May,2024 07:23 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sameer Surve |

Khaire says everything he has achieved in politics, society is solely due to support of Thackeray

Exclusive | Lok Sabha elections 2024: 'Who am I without Thackeray and Shiv Sena?'

Chandrakant Khaire from Shiv Sena (UBT) Lok Sabha candidate. Pic/Nimesh Dave

When the undivided Shiv Sena was in charge, Aurangabad didn't have any communal riots. But in the last five years, there's been trouble, which affected businesses and made it hard to create new jobs. Chandrakant Khaire, who's running for Shiv Sena (UBT) in Aurangabad, criticised both AIMIM and Shiv Sena. He said people who left the party are called "Gaddar." Even though they have MLAs and MPs, the voters are still with us, he said in an interview with mid-day.

You've been an MP and MLA for 28 years, yet the struggle for water continues.
I had a plan to bring in extra water from the Jayakwadi dam. However, in 2016, corporators from AIMIM and BJP opposed the project because they didn't want Shiv Sena to receive credit. It wasn't until MVA came into power that the project finally started. Originally budgeted at R792 crore, the project's cost has now surged to Rs 2,200 crores due to the delay. Nonetheless, work on the project is now underway.

What have you accomplished for the constituency in the past 20 years?
I've greenlit numerous projects for the district, even during the Congress-led government. However, things took a turn after 2014. I faced challenges in getting support from the Union government. Only Union Minister Nitin Gadkari gave the green light to some proposals. While the Dhule-Solapur road project has been completed, the tunnel at Chalisgoan remains pending.

Aurangabad is renowned as an industrial hub, yet we're not seeing the arrival of new industries. Moreover, industrialists are feeling increasingly insecure?
There are primarily two reasons for this. Firstly, during my 20-year tenure as MP, the district remained free from any riots. However, in the last five years, the city has witnessed unrest, making industrialists feel unsafe due to the current situation in the district. Additionally, the BJP's actions have led to the migration of industries from Maharashtra to Gujarat. In past elections, the Aurangabad campaigns have often revolved around communal issues. However, this time, you are making efforts to connect with Muslim voters.

The Muslim community has been impressed by the efforts of our party chief, Uddhav Thackeray, during the pandemic. Moreover, Thackeray has taken a stand against the National Register of Citizens, which resonates with the Muslim community. Additionally, Muslims are not satisfied with the current MP, prompting them to seek alternatives. They have been reaching out to us, expressing their support. Ultimately, people of all backgrounds seek jobs, safety, and a peaceful life with law and order. We have delivered on these fronts during our tenure, and people are turning to us for solutions.

In the 2019 election, you narrowly lost by just 4,500 votes. This time, you're up against the challenge of Shiv Sena. Do you believe this will impact your performance?
Well, the citizens have observed what transpired over the past five years. The AIMIM MP hasn't made significant contributions to the constituency, leading voters to realise that AIMIM is essentially the B team of the BJP. As for Shiv Sena, it's not the real Shiv Sena we know—it's become a group associated with questionable practices. I'm aware that some MLAs and MPs have aligned themselves with them, often being labelled as contractors. However, despite these challenges, I'm confident in the support of the voters and citizens. I don't anticipate any significant vote division this time around, given that people have witnessed the situation unfold over the last five years. Even with attempts by our party chief, Uddhav Thackeray, to form alliances, such efforts haven't yielded the desired results. The recent decisions made by Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi might aid the BJP, but the people are well aware of these political dynamics. That's precisely why I'm receiving support from all communities.

In previous elections, you have consistently released a manifesto for the constituency. However, this year, you haven't published one. Why is that?
This time around, I decided not to release a traditional manifesto. Instead, I'm actively engaging with the people directly, even after securing victory. I'm personally asking them about their needs and concerns, and their feedback serves as my manifesto. This approach marks a new pattern for this election. My strength lies in ensuring that projects are completed successfully. Additionally, I have strong connections in Delhi, including with senior officials, which greatly assists in implementing projects across the country.

The district boasts of heritage tourism potential, but it also faces its fair share of challenges.
During my tenure, I initiated a two-phase project aimed at enhancing tourism in the district. Unfortunately, the third phase of this project was put on hold when I lost the election. However, following this upcoming election, I am committed to resuming and completing the third phase of tourism development in the district.

Are there any challenges associated with contesting the election under a new symbol?
Not at all. Moreshwar Save, the first MP of the Shiv Sena in the constituency, won the election with the Mashal symbol. Our new symbol has already been effectively communicated to all voters. As a result, we are confident that we will not encounter any challenges in this regard.

Your party experienced a split, yet you remain aligned with Thackeray.
Absolutely. Who am I without Thackeray and Shiv Sena? Everything I've achieved in politics and society is solely due to their support. The thought of distancing myself from Thackeray and the party is inconceivable to me. They have remained steadfast, even when others left for personal gain. 

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