Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray on Saturday said his party could not focus on Goa earlier due to its friendship with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but after the latter "back-stabbed", the Sena has now decided to contest all future polls in the coastal state - right from panchayat level to general elections.
He said Goa needs the Sena, because despite being in power at the Centre and in the state, the BJP has failed to bring any sustainable development.
The Shiv Sena fell out with BJP after the 2019 Maharashtra polls and tied up with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress to form Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the neighbouring state.
The Sena is contesting the February 14 Goa Assembly elections in alliance with the NCP. The Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena has fielded 10 candidates in Goa this time.
The party has withdrawn its candidate Shailendra Velingkar from the Panaji seat after Utpal Parrikar, son of late Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar, decided to contest as an independent candidate after being denied ticket by the BJP from the constituency.
Addressing a press conference here, Thackeray said, "Shiv Sena had not concentrated on Goa in the past due to its friendship with BJP. But considering the political developments, in which BJP back-stabbed Sena, we have decided to contest all future elections in Goa. We will contest panchayat, assembly and Lok Sabha polls from here...Goa needs Shiv Sena." He said of late, Sena has been contesting elections outside the home state of Maharashtra.
Thackeray said that the party has been getting good response to its campaign in Goa.
"This election is not about the future of Shiv Sena, but about the locals and their future," the Maharashtra minister said.
The Sena leader said that although the BJP is in power at the Centre and in the state, no sustainable development has happened in Goa.
"Issues like water and electricity supply are still being faced by the people. If this is the case, then we fail to understand whether the state has made progress or the leaders have progressed," he added.
Thackeray also slammed the BJP saying that its campaign centered around creating division in society, spreading hatred and its leaders talked about irrelevant issues, due to which the real issues failed to get the required attention.