On Maharashtra Day, which falls on May 1, residents of the city revealed startling preferences and opinions during a survey conducted by C Voter for IANS in the last week of April.
Among the many questions asked about political, social and local issues, one was: Who do you think has been the most influential politician in Mumbai since Maharashtra became a state in 1960? While the media in Delhi seems to think Sharad Pawar, the formidable and veteran chief of the Nationalist Congress Party, should be the pick, residents of Mumbai were of the opinion that the late Balasaheb Thackeray has been the most influential politician.
The respondents were divided into two categories: those born in Maharashtra and those born outside the state. Both categories overwhelmingly favoured Balasaheb Thackeray.
More than 46 per cent of local Marathis chose Balasaheb Thackeray while more than 50 per cent of non-Marathis picked him as their choice. Sharad Pawar, who could possibly lead the opposition challenge to Narendra Modi in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, is nowhere close to the founder of Shiv Sena. Just about 8.4 per cent of local Marathis opted for Sharad Pawar while a meagre 4.5 per cent of non-Marathis opted for him.
In fact, Pawar was well behind former Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis who was the preferred choice of 9.5 per cent of both local Marathis and non-Marathis. Even Union Minister Nitin Gadkari ranked higher than Sharad Pawar with 8 per cent of Mumbaikars voting for him.
The current Chief Minister and son of Balasaheb, Uddhav Thackeray managed to get just about 4.5 per cent of the votes. The results of the survey should be food for thought for the MVA that currently rules Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP formed the MVA after the 2019 assembly elections in the state.