The North-Indian leaders are mingling with people of their brethren quite frequently these days. A gathering of similar nature was seen on 16th February, when Litti Chokha programme was organized by the former Mumbai Congress president Kripashankar Singh at a stable. A number of prominent North Indian faces were seen at the programme.

Attempts are also being made to bring all North Indian leaders together so that a message of unity can be spread. It’s mainly due to this very reason, Sanjay Nirupam, Maharashtra Minority Affairs Minister Mohammad Aarif Naseem Khan and Congress leader from Navi Mumbai Harvansh Singh were seen together.

Hindi-speaking people, mainly from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, who have settled down in Mumbai and Thane have always been considered as crucial vote-banks. After being targeted by Shiv Sena, the affinity of this particular section grew more towards Congress. Though the Hindi-speaking section did soften its stance towards Shiv Sena after its collusion with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1990, they never voted for Uddhav Thackeray-led party.

The rise of Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in the last few years has instilled a new sense of fear among the Hindi-speaking section in Maharashtra. This eventually benefits the Congress. Maharashtra is also slated to go for Assembly elections this year after Lok Sabha polls.

In Mumbai, there are 36 Vidhan Sabha seats and six Lok Sabha seats. The Congress tried to grease its relation with the Hindi-speaking voters in 2009 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections by anointing Kripashankar Singh as the president of Mumbai Congress. Both these polls also saw maximum representation of North Indian candidates and based on that only, Mumbai got one Hindi-speaking MP and four MLAs.

The naming of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate has made the Gujarati-Marwari section of Mumbai deviating ways from Congress. This has led to Congress giving more importance to Hindi-speaking population.


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