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I don't need your applause, I need your votes: Bal Thackeray

By N Ganesh
May 01, 2010 23:50 IST
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It was supposed to be a Maharashtra Day speech, however for Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray turned it into a Sena rally.

Thackeray showed how nervous the Sena was about losing power in the state, that he has already started campaigning for the party for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections.

The Sena supremo's speech at the Bandra Kurla Complex ground has raised plenty of eyebrows as the latter spoke about the civic elections that are two years away -- the civic elections are to be held in February 2012.

Thackeray, who had come to attend the function as part of the party's Maharashtra Day celebrations at the ground, asked the Sena supporters to ensure that the Sena does not lose its grip in the BMC elections.

"When I see this huge crowd I wonder why this doesn't translate in to votes? After General Cariappa lost in Thane he had come to our function in Shivaji Park, where he saw the huge crowd of people gathered and asked, where have all the votes gone?" Thackeray then told the applauding crowd, "I don't need your applause, I need your votes."

The Sena chief also lamented that there was no one to bring Marathi speaking areas of Belgaum, Karwar and Nipani in Karnataka into Maharashtra.

He said that those who had lost the fervour for Maharashtra should visit the memorial at Shivaji Park that is dedicated to the martyrs to understand the sacrifices made by them for the state's formation.

Marathi was the language of the state and it should retain its pre-eminence, he said, and as a conciliatory note added that Hindi was okay to be used as a language for communication.

Earlier his son, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray also raised the issue of Belgaum and Karwar and said that many Sainiks had lost their lives for bringing these areas into Maharashtra.

Alluding to the recently concluded blood donation drive, Uddhav said the young generation had repaid the blood shed by the martyrs by giving their own blood.

The programme also saw noted singer Lata Mangeshkar make a rare public appearance to sing the song Bahut Aso that she first sang during the formation of the state 50 years back.

Lata, who every one thought would sing the whole song, sang with schoolchildren who recited the song. Her sister Usha Mangeshkar and brother Hridaynath also sang along with her. Lata in her speech said she was fortunate as she was able to sing the song again after 50 years.

Marathi actors like Mahesh Manjrekar, Milind Gunaji and Vinay Apte compeered the show.

The show interestingly also had an audio-visual presentation, which while showing the state's history, severely criticised the roles of Jawaharlal Nehru and Morarji Desai.
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N Ganesh in Mumbai
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