MUMBAI: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has lauded the contribution of North Indians and people from other states to Mumbai, drawing flak from the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
Fadnavis said the country's financial capital has always given shelter to many and those who live here have added to the city's prestige.
"I believe that among the many things which make Mumbai great is the people who have come from various states and settled here. They also make Mumbai great," Fadnavis said at a public event in Ghatkopar area here yesterday.
"Today, when we speak of Mumbai and Maharashtra, we immediately see the North Indian community. This city has always given shelter to many and those who have got shelter here have always added to the city's prestige," he said.
The BJP leader further said, "Today, we can say that the North Indian community which has settled in Mumbai, has always worked towards increasing the prestige of the city."
Criticising the chief minister's remarks, MNS leader Nitin Sardesai said the meaning of what Fadnavis said was simple.
"For him, the votes of these North Indians are more important. He is not concerned about the original Mumbaikar, farmers and people of Maharashtra." Sardesai claimed that such remarks are being made keeping an eye on the North Indian votes.
Mumbai and Maharashtra have always been great. There was no need for people from other states to come here and make it more great, he said.
"They (North Indians) came to Mumbai for their livelihood because there was no development in their states. How are they going to make Mumbai great ," the MNS leader says.
Notably, the MNS workers had last week staged a protest against North Indian fish-sellers in several parts of the adjoining Thane city, alleging that they were eating into the native fish-sellers' business.
The MNS said that the fisher-folk, specially women and the younger generation of sellers, had been complaining that they were being driven out of business by North Indian sellers.
A day after the Elphinstone railway station stampede claimed 22 lives on September 29, Raj Thackeray had said such stampedes will continue to occur in Mumbai till hordes of migrants keep pouring into the city.
The MNS leader, who has been stoking controversies with his anti-migrant rhetoric, said, "There has been a collapse of infrastructure facilities due to the migrant influx from other regions."