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The Shiv Sena, the Hindu right-wing political party from Maharashtra, will be contesting on 70 to 75 seats of the Gujarat Assembly in the coming elections in the state. The Bal Thackeray party will be using the Hindutva plank to contest, as it feels the BJP has forgotten its old aim of preserving Hindu sentiments.
Informing the media, Shiv Sena National Secretary and a Rajya Sabha MP, Anil Desai, said, "We will be contesting for the Assembly seats. The agenda of Hindutva has always been the forte of the Shiv Sena right from its inception. We feel that the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has won all across the country, in the states as well as the Centre, has forgotten their basic agenda on which the people have voted them for, which too is Hindutva. We will be contesting for the preservation and upholding of our religion, which will be our main agenda."
Desai said, "But Hindutva is not all that we want, but our other basic criteria will be upliftment of the education in the state, which has gone down the drain. There will be also other issues related to health, farmers and development. But we won't be contesting on the caste politics like other parties."
On the issue of reservation for which Hardik Patel, leader of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), is fighting for, Desai said, "Hardik in the initial days of their agitation came and met Uddhav Thackeray as he did with any other significant political leader and discussed some matters related to Maratha reservation with him. But caste reservation and casteism is not our cup of tea. For us every community is equal."
Desai added that the Shiv Sena won't be having any alliance with any other political party at the moment. The party did not declare from which state assembly constituencies it will be contesting. But according to sources, the party will be contesting in at least eight constituencies in Ahmedabad, and seats where either the BJP or the Congress has won on narrow margins of less than 5,000 votes.
Desai said, "The party has zeroed in on around 50 candidates and another 20-25 likely candidates for the contest."
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)